By The Associated Press
2013-12-17 09:42 AM
Today is Tuesday, Dec. 24, the 358th day of 2013. There are 7 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date.
1515 - King Henry VIII appoints Thomas Wolsey as chancellor of England.
1798 - Britain and Russia sign alliance against France.
1800 - Plot is uncovered in Paris to assassinate Napoleon Bonaparte.
1814 - United States and Britain sign Treaty of Ghent in Belgium, ending War of 1812.
1865 - Several veterans of the U.S. Confederate Army form a private social club in Pulaski, Tennessee, calling themselves the Ku Klux Klan.
1871 - Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Aida" has its world premiere in Cairo, Egypt, to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal.
1906 - Canadian-born physicist Reginald A. Fessenden becomes the first to broadcast a music program over the radio, from Brant Rock, Massachusetts.
1942 - French administrator of North Africa, Admiral Jean Darlan, is assassinated in Algiers.
1943 - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces as part of Operation Overlord.
1951 - Libya becomes an independent federation under King Idris I.
1953 - Train crashes into river at Tangiwai, New Zealand, killing 151 people.
1968 - U.S. Apollo 8 astronauts, orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve television broadcast.
1975 - The Soviet Union defends its support for the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola and rejects the U.S. demand to stop its involvement in the Angolan war.
1979 - An estimated 80,000 Soviet soldiers invade Afghanistan to oust Communist party leader Hafizullah Amin and replace him with the pro-Moscow Babrak Karmal. The European Space Agency launches its first Ariane rocket from French Guiana.
1980 - Americans remember the U.S. hostages in Iran by burning candles or shining lights for 417 seconds -- one second for each day of captivity.
1989 - Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega takes refuge in the Vatican diplomatic mission in Panama City as resistance to U.S. troops from remaining loyalist soldiers collapses.
1990 - Iraq recalls its ambassadors from United States, United Nations and West European nations for urgent consultations as Jan. 15 deadline for withdrawal from Kuwait approaches.
1991 - Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev gives Soviet nuclear codes to his former rival Boris Yeltsin.
1993 - A three-day Christmas cease-fire is declared in Northern Ireland. Santa Claus raises a Palestinian flag in the Gaza strip, as the Israeli army grants a Christmas truce in the occupied territories.
1994 - Muslim militants seize a French jetliner in Algiers and take 239 people hostage.
1996 - A woman detonates two hand grenades at a Christmas Eve church service in Frankfurt, Germany, killing herself and two other women.
1997 - Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the revolutionary known as "Carlos the Jackal," is convicted by a French court for the 1975 murders of two French investigators and a Lebanese national.
1999 - Ivory Coast, long a bastion of stability in a region wracked by war, is riven by a coup d'etat. The nation's longtime ruling party later allies with the coup leaders.
2001 - The Serbian Democratic Party expels its founder, Radovan Karadzic, and other members indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague; The Burundian army captures a main rebel stronghold in Tenga.
2003 - The U.S. agrees to donate 60,000 metric tons of food aid to North Korea, bringing its total donations for the year to 100,000 metric tons. The decision was based on an assessment by the U.N. World Food Program that four million North Koreans were threatened by food shortages.
2006 - Ethiopia sends fighter jets into Somalia and bombs several towns in a dramatic attack on Somalia's powerful Islamic movement. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his country had been "forced to enter a war."
2007 - Uzbekistan's authoritarian President Islam Karimov wins a new term in office in an election dismissed by critics as a sham.
2008 - The newly resigned Iraqi parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani praises the journalist who threw shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush and says the legislature should have supported him.
2009 - A woman jumps the barriers in St. Peter's Basilica and knocks down Pope Benedict XVI as he walks down the main aisle to begin Christmas Eve Mass.
2010 - Masked gunmen with rocket launchers block access to what officials believe may be a mass grave site in Ivory Coast as concerns grow that the West African nation that suffered a 2002-2003 civil war could return to conflict.
2011 - Pope Benedict XVI decries the increasing commercialization of Christmas as he celebrated Christmas Eve Mass, urging the faithful to look beyond the holiday's "superficial glitter" to discover its true meaning.
2012 - An Afghan policewoman walks into a high-security compounded in Kabul and kills an American contractor with a single bullet to the chest, the first such shooting by a woman in a spate of insider attacks by Afghans against their foreign allies.
John Lackland, king of England, (1167-1216); Kit Carson, U.S. folk hero (1809-1868); Matthew Arnold, British author (1822-1888); Howard Hughes, U.S. billionaire (1905-1976); I.F. Stone, U.S. journalist (1907-1989); Ava Gardner, U.S. actress (1922-1990); Ricky Martin, Puerto Rican pop singer (1971--); Kate Spade, U.S. designer (1962--).
Thought For Today:
If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, hear what he had to say, and make fun of it. -- Thomas Carlyle, English historian (1795-1881).