By The Associated Press
2012-12-28 06:46 AM
Highlights in history on this date:
1762 - Britain declares war against Spain and Naples.
1797 - Napoleon Bonaparte defeats Austrians at Rivoli, Italy.
1885 - The first successful appendectomy is performed in the United States.
1908 - Mulai Hafid is proclaimed sultan of Morocco at Fez.
1918 - France's former Premier Joseph Caillaux is arrested for treason after he opposes involvement in World War I. He is later found guilty of committing "damage to the external security of the state" but is pardoned and becomes finance minister.
1919 - Russian Bolsheviks capture Riga, Latvia.
1938 - British postpone plan for partition of Palestine.
1944 - Allied forces launch attack east of Cassino, Italy, in World War II.
1948 - Britain grants independence to Burma.
1951 - North Korean and Communist Chinese forces take Seoul, South Korea.
1961 - Nationalist rebels attack Portuguese military and civil targets in Luanda, Angola, the opening shots in a 14-year colonial war.
1967 - Britain's proposal for an international peace conference to end the war in Vietnam is rejected by North Vietnam and by the National Liberation Front.
1973 - Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is robbed of $2 million worth of art, including a Rembrandt valued at $1 million.
1974 - U.S. President Richard Nixon refuses to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.
1983 - The Colombian government bans imports into Colombia of ether, acetone, hydrochloride and other chemicals needed to purify cocaine paste.
1989 - U.S. Navy planes shoot down two Libyan jet fighter planes claiming to be on a reconnaissance mission over Mediterranean Sea.
1990 - Worst rail disaster in Pakistan's history kills 307 people and wounds 700 when a passenger train crashes into stopped freight train in Sangi.
1991 - Salvadoran leftist rebels deny having murdered three American airmen after forcing down their helicopter two days earlier.
1993 - An outbreak of fighting kills at least 19 people in the Georgian republic of Abkhazia.
1994 - The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke approves a $4.5 million grant for three institutions to measure the success of implanting fetal tissue into brains of patients with Parkinson's disease.
1995 - Israeli troops, escalating their struggle against Palestinian extremists opposed to the peace process, shoot and kill four men in the occupied West Bank.
1996 - After pressure from NATO, Bosnian Serbs release 16 Bosnians who had been detained outside Sarajevo in violation of the Dayton peace agreement.
1997 - A 99-year-old Parisian woman who refused to leave her unheated home is the 225th person to die during a cold snap across Europe.
1998 - Swedish police arrest 314 people after violence erupts at a neo-Nazi concert outside Stockholm.
1999 - Europe's new currency, the euro, makes a strong debut on the financial markets.
2003 - Islamic militants ambush a military convoy in northeast Algeria, killing 43 soldiers and wounding 19 others in the deadliest attack on Algerian troops in five years.
2005 - The governor of the Baghdad region, known for cooperating closely with American troops, is assassinated along with six bodyguards as he drives to work in yet another bloody day of insurgent attacks that expose grave security flaws in Iraq with elections less than a month away.
2006 - A suicide bomber kills 32 mourners and wounds dozens more at a funeral held north of Baghdad for the nephew of a Shiite politician. It is one of several attacks across Iraq that kill a total of 53 people.
2007 - About 100,000 North Koreans rally in the communist country's capital to defend their government's right to have nuclear weapons.
2008 - DNA analysis indicates a 3-year-old boy living in a Bogota foster home is the child of a woman held captive by leftist rebels for nearly six years. The results suggest that the leftist rebels misled the world when they promised to release the boy and his mother.
2009 - A female suicide bomber strikes Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad, killing 38 people.
2010 - Five Americans detained in Pakistan tell a court they intended to cross the border into Afghanistan to wage jihad against Western forces but deny any links to al-Qaida or plans to carry out terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
2011 _ The governor of Pakistan's most dominant province is shot and killed by a bodyguard who authorities said was angry about his opposition to blasphemy laws carrying the death sentence for insulting the Muslim faith.
2012 _ Chile's National Education Council decides to change the description of the country's former military government from "dictatorship" to "regime" in the nation's school textbooks.
James Usher, Irish churchman-scholar (1581-1656); Isaac Newton, English physicist (1643-1747); Jacob Grimm, German author (1785-1863); Louis Braille, French inventor of writing for the blind (1809-1852); Jane Wyman, U.S. actress (1914-2007); Dyan Cannon, U.S. actress (1937--); Michael Stipe, U.S. singer w/rock group R.E.M. (1960--); Julia Ormond, British actress (1965--).
Thought For Today:
Our civilization is still in a middle stage, no longer wholly guided by instinct, not yet wholly guided by reason _ Theodore Dreiser, American author (1871-1945).