Today in History – Monday, Dec. 7, 2015

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Today is Monday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2015. There are 24 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1787 – Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

1815 – France’s Marshal Ney is shot after a treason trial for aiding Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo.

1842 – The New York Philharmonic gives its first concert.

1858 – French and Spanish announce blockade of Cochin, China.

1895 – Ethiopians defeat Italians at Ambia Alagi, Abyssinia.

91901 – England and Italy agree on settling Sudan frontier.

1917 – The U.S. declares war on Austro-Hungary.

1921 – Austria and United States resume diplomatic relations.

1922 – Northern Ireland votes for nonalignment in Irish Free State.

1940 – The British attack larger Italian forces in Libya by surprise, capturing 40,000 prisoners in three days.

1941 – Japanese air forces attack the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

1944 – The United States formally announces all six Japanese aircraft carriers involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor were sunk.

1949 – Nationalist government of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, fleeing the Communist takeover of mainland China, establishes its seat of government in Taiwan.

1953 – David Ben-Gurion resigns as premier of Israel.

1962 – Forty-two Soviet IL-28 jets, believed to be the entire bomber fleet sent to Cuba, is observed on the decks of Russian ships leaving the island’s ports.

1965 – Pope Paul VI and ecumenical patriarch Athenagoras I of Istanbul abolish the mutual excommunication of 1054 that split Christianity into Catholic and Orthodox.

1971 – Unmanned Soviet space capsule sends back radio and television signals from Mars.

1972 – Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippines’ President Ferdinand Marcos, is slashed during public ceremony in Manila by man who is killed at the scene of the incident.

1974 – Archbishop Makarios returns to Cyprus after five months in exile, and says he will pardon those who plotted his overthrow.

1975 – Indonesia invades East Timor and annexes the region as its 27th province.

1982 – Convicted murderer Charlie Brooks becomes the first U.S. prisoner executed by injection, at a prison in Huntsville, Texas.

1988 – Massive earthquake in Armenia claims at least 25,000 lives.

1989 – Republic of Lithuania abolishes constitutional guarantee of communist supremacy and legalizes multiparty system.

1993 – Ivory Coast President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Africa’s longest-serving ruler, dies.

1996 – After nearly 18 days aloft, the Columbia space shuttle and its astronauts return to Earth, ending the longest space shuttle flight ever.

2002 – Iraq turns over to United Nations weapons inspectors a document detailing its weapons of mass destruction programs and industries with military applications, as required by a November U.N. Security Council resolution.

2008 – Pakistani troops raid a militant camp and arrest Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a suspected mastermind of the attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai on Nov. 26-29 that killed more than 171 people.

2010 – President Barack Obama abandons attempts to persuade Israel to slow West Bank settlement activity, dealing a major blow to the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

2012 – Hamas long-exiled leader Khaled Mashaal makes a triumphant return to the Gaza Strip, showing how the group’s defiance of Israel is forcing a change in Palestinian politics and undermining the role of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

2013 – U.S. doctors report unprecedented success by using gene therapy to transform patients’ blood cells into soldiers that seek to destroy cancer in one of the biggest advances against leukemia and other blood cancers in many years.

2014 — Six prisoners held for 12 years in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, arrive as refugees in Uruguay, a South American national with only a tiny Muslim population.

Today’s Birthdays:

Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587); Pietro Mascagni, Italian composer (1863-1945); Seigo Takamori, Japanese Restoration hero (1827-1877); Willa Cather, U.S. novelist (1873-1947); Mario Soares, first elected president of Portugal in 60 years (1924–); Noam Chomsky, American linguist and political activist (1928–); Ellen Burstyn, U.S. actress (1932–); Chris Chalk U.S. actor (1977–).

Thought For Today:

Any frontal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most precious possession — their ignorance — Hendrik Willem van Loon, Dutch-American journalist and lecturer (1882-1944).

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