Today is Monday, Dec. 16, the 350th day of 2013. There are 15 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1653 - Oliver Cromwell becomes lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.
1740 - Prussia's Frederick II enters Silesia --now in Poland-- and begins the first Silesian War.
1773 - American colonists, dressed as Indians, dump 342 chests of tea overboard from a British ship in the Boston Harbor, staging a protest against British taxation. The event becomes known as "The Boston Tea Party."
1809 - Napoleon Bonaparte divorces Empress Josephine by an act of the French Senate.
1838 - Boers defeat Zulus on Blood River, Natal.
1879 - Transvaal Republic is proclaimed in what is now South Africa.
1884 - Britain recognizes the International Association of the Congo.
1916 - Gregory Rasputin, a monk who wielded powerful influence over the Russian Czar, is murdered by a group of noblemen in St. Petersburg.
1944 - German forces begin "Battle of the Bulge" in the Ardennes area of Belgium in World War II.
1950 - U.S. President Harry Truman proclaims a national state of emergency in order to fight "Communist imperialism."
1956 - The United Nations assumes control over most of the invaded sector of the Suez Canal Zone as Anglo-French troops continue their withdrawals under increased Egyptian harassment.
1960 - A United Air Lines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collide over New York City, killing 134 people.
1966 - U.N. Security Council votes 11-0 to invoke economic sanctions against white minority government in Rhodesia.
1971 - Pakistani troops surrender East Pakistan after a war with its rebels and their Indian allies. The territory soon becomes the independent nation of Bangladesh.
1972 - U.S. Apollo 17 spacecraft heads for Earth after the last U.S. manned exploration of the Moon.
1979 - Five British soldiers are killed and another wounded in two Irish Republican Army bomb attacks in Northern Ireland after the group claims it would never take part in a Christmas cease-fire.
1985 - Reputed organized-crime chief Paul Castellano is shot to death outside a New York City restaurant.
1988 - A new U.N. peacekeeping force is announced to monitor the withdrawal of 50,000 Cuban troops from Angola.
1990 - Haitians elect populist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the country's first fully democratic election.
1991 - The U.N. General Assembly rescinds its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism by an 111-25 vote.
1993 - The Israeli army closes off four Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank after the troops receive their first clear mandate to restrain settlers.
1996 - A car bomb explodes outside the home of a prominent opposition leader in Medellin, Colombia, killing one person and injuring 48 others.
1997 - A U.N. team in Afghanistan reports finding mass graves with the bodies of what are thought to be 2,000 Taliban soldiers captured by the northern alliance.
1998 - The United States launches a wave of cruise missiles at military and intelligence installations in Iraq. U.N. weapons inspectors were evacuated earlier in the day, with their chief citing Iraqi obstruction of their work.
2000 -- Hundreds of Polish nurses block international railways and border crossings across the country as part of mounting protests for higher pay.
2001 - After nine weeks of siege, Afghan tribal leaders claim victory over al-Qaida guerrillas at their last stronghold in Afghanistan. But Osama bin Laden's whereabouts remain a mystery.
2002 - The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) claims an al-Qaida terrorist network is operating in Canada. The statement follows the arrest of Mohammed Harkat, an Algerian immigrant who entered the country using a false Saudi Arabian passport in 1995.
2005 - Hamas celebrates a landslide victory in key West Bank towns, the strongest sign yet of the Islamic militant group's growing political clout ahead of parliamentary elections.
2006 - About 3,000 ethnic Tamils cross into government-held areas to escape violence that is pushing the country closer to an all-out war between separatist rebels and the Sri Lankan government.
2007 - British forces give Iraq responsibility for security in Basra province, the last remaining region under Britain's control.
2008 - A splinter group of prominent African National Congress politicians launches a new party in the first major challenge to the movement since it took power nearly 15 years ago after toppling South Africa's apartheid government.
2009 - Iran test fires an upgraded version of an advanced missile capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe, an apparent show of strength aimed at discouraging attacks on its nuclear facilities.
2010 -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is released on bail -- confined to a supporter's English estate but free to get back to work spilling U.S. government secrets on his website as he fights Sweden's attempt to extradite him on allegations of rape and molestation.
2011 -- Alarming financial news flows out of Europe in a torrent, just a week after the EU leaders struck a deal they thought would contain the continent's debt crisis.
John Selden, English jurist (1584-1654); Jane Austen, English novelist (1775-1817); Sir Noel Coward, English dramatist-composer (1899-1973); Margaret Mead, American anthropologist (1901-1978); Liv Ullmann, Norwegian actress (1938--); Benny Andersson, Swedish musician-composer, former member of ABBA (1946--); Benjamin Bratt, U.S. actor (1963--).
Thought For Today:
Life means progress, and progress means suffering -- Hendrik Willem Van Loon, Dutch-born journalist and lecturer (1882-1944).