Today in History – Monday, Dec. 21, 2015

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Today is Monday, Dec. 21, the 355th day of 2015. There are 10 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1620 – Pilgrims go ashore from ship Mayflower at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, in United States.

1817 – Governor Lachlan Macquarie formally adopts name “Australia” for British colony.

1832 – Egyptian forces rout Turkish army at Battle of Konieh.

1851 – French plebiscite supports new constitution drawn up by Louis Napoleon.

1898 – Radium is discovered by scientists Pierre and Marie Curie.

1934 – Bolivia’s President Daniel Salamanca is overthrown in military coup.

1942 – British 8th Army reoccupies Benghazi in Africa in World War II.

1953 – Iran’s former Premier Mohammed Mosadegh is sentenced to three years in prison for trying to lead revolt against shah.

1960 – Saudi Arabia’s Premier Emir Faisal resigns, and King Saud takes over government.

1967 – Louis Washkansky, first man to undergo heart transplant, dies in Cape Town, South Africa, 18 days after surgery.

1971 – Austrian diplomat Kurt Waldheim is chosen secretary-general of United Nations.

1972 – East and West Germany formally sign treaty ending more than two decades of official enmity.

1975 – Terrorists raid meeting of OPEC in Vienna, Austria. Eleven delegates and others are taken hostage, and two guards are killed.

1979 – Peace agreement signed, ending seven-year Rhodesian guerrilla war and 15-year rebellion against the British crown.

1988 – A Pan Am jet explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people in the air and on the ground. Libyan agents are tried for the bombing.

1989 – Nicolae Ceausescu declares state of emergency in Timosoara, Romania, after tens of thousands of protesters fill the streets in mass demonstrations.

1990 – Albanian government orders removal of all statues and symbols bearing Josef Stalin’s name.

1995 – At least 75 people are killed and 76 injured in Badrshein, Egypt, when a train slams into the Cairo-to-Luxor express.

1998 – After a quick trial, Chinese dissidents Xu Wenli and Wang Youcai are sentenced to more than a decade behind bars for trying to register the China Democracy Party.

2003 – The Sudanese government and rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Army reach a tentative deal to evenly divide the country’s oil wealth as part of negotiations to end its 20-year-old civil war.

2004 – Tens of thousands of Filipinos fill Manila’s streets for the funeral of Fernando Poe Jr., the actor-turned-presidential candidate who came to symbolize the aspirations of the country’s poor.

2006 – In the biggest U.S. criminal case involving civilian deaths to come out of the Iraq war, eight Marines are charged in the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians during a bloody, door-to-door sweep in the town of Haditha that came after their comrade was killed by a roadside bomb.

2009 – A huge funeral procession for Iran’s most senior dissident cleric, Grand Ayatolloh Hossein Ali Montazeri, becomes a show of defiance against the country’s rulers as mourners flashed green protest colors and chanted against the Islamic leadership in Iran’s holy city of Qom.

2012 – Pope Benedict XVI presses his opposition to gay marriage, denouncing what he described as people eschewing their God-given gender identities to suit their sexual choices in the face of gains by same-sex marriage proponents in the U.S. and Europe.

2013 – Families of some of the 270 people who died in the bombing of an airliner over Scotland 25 years ago gather for memorial services in the U.S. and Britain.

2014 — Thousands of members of Nigeria’s home-grown Islamic extremist Bioko Haram strke across the border in Cameroon with coordinated attacks on towns, a troop convoy and a military barracks.

Today’s Birthdays:

Benjamin Disraeli, English statesman-author (1804-1881); Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan (1876-1948); Joseph Stalin, Soviet leader (1879-1953); Kurt Waldheim, former Austrian president and U.N. secretary-general (1918-2007); Kel Nagle, Australian champion golfer (1920-2015); Alicia Alonso, Cuban-born ballerina (1921–); Jane Fonda, U.S. actress (1937–); Samuel L. Jackson, U.S. actor (1948–); Julie Delpy, French actress/director (1969–).

Thought For Today:

It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them — Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, French author and dramatist (1732-1799).

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