1962 : The US government reaches an agreement with Cuba for the return of prisoners captured during the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba paying a ransom of $53 million in food and medical supplies when the last of more than 1,000 men taken prisoner are returned to the United States in time for Christmas.
A group of Confederate veterans convenes to form the secret society the "Ku Klux Klan." The KKK wished to ensure the local African American population did not gain civil and legal rights.
1903 : The first car number plate ( A1 ) is issued to Earl Russel who camped outside the London County Council issuing office overnight to be sure he got it, ( he was the brother of the philosopher Bertrand Russell )
Mexico's Minister of War, General Hernando Reyes, has quit his post and it is believed this would have a big political impact on Mexican politics. Senor Limantour who was the finance minister was in line to be take the post of Minister of War.
Irish workers in the U.S. sent an estimated $150,000 per week to poor relatives in Ireland. The republican war had devastated the country. In Kerry county 30% of the people were destitute. Their girls are sold to become domestic servants in America.
1933 : Benito Mussolini gave a speech in which he emphasized that agriculture was the main thing holding Italy together. He commented, “Fascist policy has leaned to agricultural rather than industry because we have far greater interests in agriculture.”
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower is appointed as the supreme commander of Allied forces.
Celebrating Birthdays Today
Born: 24th December 1905 Houston, Texas, U.S.
Died: April 5th 1976 Houston, Texas, U.S.
Known For : Howard Hughes best known as an eccentric reclusive lifestyle, multi billionaire, successful movie producer including ( Hell's Angels, Scarface, and The Outlaw ). He was also a leading aviator and engineer who built and flew the H-4 "Hercules" nicknamed the "Spruce Goose" aircraft which was the world's largest flying boat made from wood. As an aviator he set a number of world air-speed records including holding the round the world record in 1938 (3 days, 19 hours) which beat the earlier record by 4 days. Hughes was an aggressive businessman who took control of TWA in 1939 RKO in 1948, later as his obsessive-compulsive disorder became worse he bought hotels and casinos around the world to ensure he could stay in the Penthouse Suites, In nearly all the deals which many thought were quirky he still made money and ended his life as one of the richest men in the world.
Born: 24th December 1974 Dunwoody, Georgia, U.S.
Known For : Ryan Seacrest is best known as the host of the Fox reality show American Idol, he is also the host for Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade and Co-Host for E! News.
Those Germans who fled Adolf Hitler and his Nazis all expressed loathing for the dictator and his repression. Once allowed to live in a democracy like the U.S. they became very individualistic.
According to a study by the telephone company Americans possessed 50% of the world's telephones, but Canada topped the charts for use of the phone with 497 phone discussions per year followed by 491 for Sweden and 460 for the United States.
1967 : As a result of Israel's victory in war pilgrims to Bethlehem and Jerusalem were allowed in for the first time in 16 years. The mayor believed that 20,000 Arab and Christian travellers would flood in to the Holy Land.
The first men ever to circle the moon and visit the dark side of the moon are Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders when Apollo 8 orbits the Moon, becoming the first manned space mission to achieve the feat.
1975 : The Shah of Iran and autocrat Muammar el-Qaddafi managed to quadruple the cost of oil. Shah Mohammed Raza Pahlavi told U.S. President Ford that he, the Shah, was going to play a leading role in Persian Gulf matters.
The first European built rocket, Ariane 1, part of the European Space Agency has successfully completed its maiden flight. The primary objective of the Ariane Program is to launch satellites on behalf of European nations
President George Bush went against congress and extended the welcome mat to China even though the Chinese government was guilty of human rights violations and the murder of students at Tinammen Square.
Mikhail S. Gorbachev, President of Russia, had proposed a new framework for Russian government and a cabinet shuffle. However, the average Russian on the street was experiencing deteriorating living conditions.
President Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others involved in the arms for hostages Iran Contra scandal
Four Islamic extremists hijack Air France Flight 8969 in Algiers, flying the aircraft to Marseilles . The French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur uses French commandos to storm the aircraft killing all the terrorists and remaining hostages were released unharmed.
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the self-proclaimed leftist revolutionary and mercenary known as Carlos the Jackal, was sentenced by a French court to life in prison for the 1975 murders of two French investigators and a Lebanese national at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna.
From 1962 Toys Page
From 1965 Toys Page
2002 : Laci Peterson was reported missing from her Modesto, California, home, by her husband, Scott, who was later convicted of murdering her and their unborn son.
A huge snowstorm strikes Texas and Louisiana before it headed northeast into the New England states. It was the most snow that Texas received since 1899. Some places in the state only received a few inches while other places, like Victoria, received up to 13 inches overnight.
In the hopes of driving drug prices down in the U.S. senators and house officials were pushing for a change in federal law that would allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries.
Iran's president has rejected U.N. Security Council sanctions against Tehran, insisting his country would be pressing ahead with its nuclear program. Ahmadinejad said the resolution passed on Saturday was a "piece of paper," and added that the fifteen countries who voted in its favor would regret it. Iran said it would begin installing three thousand centrifuges at a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.
The Queen has acknowledged the 'great personal risk' that British servicemen and women face in Iraq and Afghanistan in a special Christmas message to them. The Queen said their 'courage and loyalty are not lightly taken.' She also told them that her thoughts and prayers were with the families of servicepeople who had been killed. The pre-recorded Christmas Eve radio broadcast is played to armed forces personnel at home and abroad. It is the second time in recent years that the Queen has recorded a specific message for troops in addition to her annual broadcast to the rest of the nation..
A giant Father Christmas made of ice, which is claimed to be the world's biggest Santa has been unveiled in China. The 525 feet long sculpture is the centerpiece at the world-renowned ice festival in the city of Harbin, where temperatures drop to well below freezing in the winter. But sculptor Tang Guangjun said unseasonably warm temperatures and hazardous conditions had made it very difficult to carve the figure, which centers on an enormous face of Father Christmas, complete with flowing beard and hat. An estimated 800,000 tourists from around China are expected to visit the festival, which traditionally runs from mid-December to early February.
A court in eastern Ukraine has sentenced a man to life imprisonment for the murder and rape of about eighty girls and young women over twenty-five years. The trial took place in Dnipropetrovsk, and Serhiy Tkach claimed that he had murdered one hundred people, and that he was an animal who deserved the death penalty. An ex-policeman, he suffocated girls aged between eight and eighteen, and performed sexual acts on their bodies. Over the years ten innocent people were jailed for the murders that he had committed.
The Senate has passed the final version of the historic health care reform bill, which aims to cover about 31 million uninsured Americans, and lead to the biggest change in U.S. healthcare for decades. Barack Obama has welcomed the bill as a 'real and meaningful' reform, saying that it was the most important piece of social legislation since the 1930s. It still has to be be reconciled with the legislation passed by the House of Representatives. The process of reconciling the two bills is expected to begin in January. Once this has been done President Obama will be able to sign the measure into law
Pope Benedict was knocked over by a female spectator when he was celebrating Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. The woman, who is said to be unstable, had managed to grab him by his vestments near the neck before a security guard had been able to overwhelm her. The Vatican said she had tried to jump on the Pope last year as well. Proceeding with the Mass, the Pope looked slightly shaken.
2011 : The Cuban government has announced that it will free 2,900 prisoners, some political, as a goodwill gesture towards families and religious organizations that had been asking for the release of some prisoners.
Actor Jack Klugman died at the age of ninety in Los Angeles. Klugman was known for his roles on The Odd Couple and Quincy M.E., including a number of guest starring roles later in his career.
NASA announced that astronauts aboard the International Space Station successfully completed repairs on a cooling pump. The repairs required them to conduct a seven and a half hour space walk on Christmas eve.
From 1967 Toys Page