Today is Thursday, Dec. 24, the 358th day of 2015. 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.
1524 - Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama, who discovered a sea route around Africa to India, dies in Cochin, India.
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.
1937 - Japanese troops capture Hangchow in China.
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.
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.
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.
1991 - Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev gives Soviet nuclear codes to his former rival Boris Yeltsin.
1997 - Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the terrorist 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.
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.
2012 - An Afghan policewoman walks into a high-security compound in Kabul and kills an American contractor, the first such shooting by a woman in a spate of insider attacks by Afghans against their foreign allies.
2013 -- A powerful blast rips through a police headquarters in an Egyptian Nile Delta city, killing 15 people and wounding more than 100 in the deadliest bombing yet in a campaign of violence blamed on Islamic militants.
2014 -- Islamic State militants capture a Jordanian pilot after his warplane crashes in Syria while carrying out airstrikes, making him the first foreign military member to fall into the extremists hands since the international coalition launched its bombing campaign.
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).