Today is Thursday, Dec. 27, the 362nd day of 2012. There are four days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 27, 1932, New York City’s Radio City Music Hall opened to the public in midtown Manhattan. (Opening night, consisting of several hours of live acts, was considered a disaster, prompting the owners to shift to a format of showing a movie followed by a stage show.)
On this date:
• In 1512, King Ferdinand II issued the original Laws of Burgos, which were intended to regulate the treatment of indigenous people on Hispaniola by Spanish settlers.
• In 1822, scientist Louis Pasteur was born in Dole, France.
• In 1831, naturalist Charles Darwin set out on a round-the-world voyage aboard the HMS Beagle.
• In 1904, James Barrie’s play “Peter Pan: The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” opened at the Duke of York’s Theater in London.
• In 1927, the musical play “Show Boat,” with music by Jerome Kern and libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II, opened at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York.
• In 1945, 28 nations signed an agreement creating the World Bank.
• In 1947, the original version of the puppet character Howdy Doody made its TV debut on NBC’s “Puppet Playhouse.”
• In 1949, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands signed an act recognizing Indonesia’s sovereignty after more than three centuries of Dutch rule.
• In 1968, Apollo 8 and its three astronauts made a safe, nighttime splashdown in the Pacific.
• In 1970, the musical play “Hello, Dolly!” closed on Broadway after a run of 2,844 performances.
• In 1979, Soviet forces seized control of Afghanistan. President Hafizullah Amin, who was overthrown and executed, was replaced by Babrak Karmal.
• In 1985, Palestinian guerrillas opened fire inside the Rome and Vienna airports; 19 victims were killed, plus four attackers who were slain by police and security personnel. American naturalist Dian Fossey, 53, who had studied gorillas in the wild in Rwanda, was found hacked to death.
Ten years ago:
• A defiant North Korea ordered U.N. nuclear inspectors to leave the country and said it would restart a laboratory capable of producing plutonium for nuclear weapons. But the U.N. nuclear watchdog said its inspectors were “staying put” for the time being.
• A suicide truck-bomb attack destroyed the headquarters of Chechnya’s Moscow-backed government, killing 72 people.
• Clonaid, a company founded by a religious sect that believes in space aliens, announced it had produced the world’s first cloned baby, a claim subsequently dismissed by scientists for lack of proof.
• Oscar-winning director George Roy Hill died in New York at age 81.
Five years ago:
• Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated during a suicide bomb attack in Pakistan following a campaign rally.
• Kenya held an election pitting incumbent president Mwai Kibaki against opposition candidate Raila Odinga; both candidates ended up claiming victory in a vote that observers said was seriously flawed. (Kenya was racked by weeks of ethnic violence; Kibaki and Odinga ended up forming a coalition government.)
One year ago:
• Tens of thousands of defiant Syrian protesters thronged the streets of Homs, calling for the execution of President Bashar Assad shortly after his army pulled its tanks back and allowed Arab League monitors in for the first time to the city at the heart of the anti-government uprising.
• Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, a conservative Democrat, said he would retire from the Senate rather than seek a third term.
• Abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler, 83, known for her bold, lyrical use of color, died in Darien, Conn.
Rockabilly musician Scotty Moore is 81. Actor John Amos is 73. Actress Charmian Carr (Film: “The Sound of Music”) is 70. ABC News correspondent Cokie Roberts is 69. Rock musician Mick Jones (Foreigner) is 68. Singer Tracy Nelson is 68. Actor Gerard Depardieu is 64. Jazz singer-musician T.S. Monk is 63. Singer-songwriter Karla Bonoff is 61. Actress Tovah Feldshuh is 60. Rock musician David Knopfler (Dire Straits) is 60. Journalist-turned-politician Arthur Kent is 59. Actress Maryam D’Abo is 52. Country musician Jeff Bryant is 50. Actor Ian Gomez is 48. Actress Theresa Randle is 48. Actress Eva LaRue is 46. Former professional wrestler and actor Bill Goldberg is 46. Actress Tracey Cherelle Jones is 43. Bluegrass singer-musician Darrin Vincent (Dailey & Vincent) is 43. Rock musician Guthrie Govan is 41. Musician Matt Slocum is 40. Actor Wilson Cruz is 39. Singer Olu is 39. Actor Masi Oka is 38. Actor Aaron Stanford is 36. Actress Emilie de Ravin is 31. Christian rock musician James Mead (Kutless) is 30. Rock singer Hayley Williams (Paramore) is 24.