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.


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.


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.


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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