Editorial

This Day in History - December 21

Saturday, December 21, 2013    

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Today is the 355th day of 2013. There are 10 days left in the year.

TODAY'S HIGHLIGHT

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.

OTHER EVENTS

1817: Governor Lachlan Macquarie formally adopts name "Australia" for British colony.

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

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

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

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 symbolise the aspirations of the country's poor.

2005: Britain's most famous gay couple -- Sir Elton John and Canadian film-maker David Furnish -- tie the knot in a much-anticipated ceremony, capping the first week of legalised civil unions for same-sex couples in the United Kingdom.

2007: Ignoring works by Matisse, Renoir and Van Gogh, thieves steal two paintings -- one by Pablo Picasso and another by Candido Portinari -- in the first successful heist in the 60-year history of Brazil's premier modern art museum.

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 colours and chanted against the Islamic leadership in Iran's holy city of Qom.

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 UN secretary-general (1918-2007); Alicia Alonso, Cuban-born ballerina (1921-); Jane Fonda, US actress (1937-); Samuel L Jackson, US actor (1948-)

— AP

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