Today is Tuesday, Dec. 3, the 337th day of 2013. There are 28 days left in the year.
On Dec. 3, 1984, thousands of people died after a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas escaped from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India.
On this date:
In 1810, British forces captured Mauritius from the French, who had renamed the island nation off southeast Africa “Ile de France.”
In 1818, Illinois was admitted as the 21st state.
In 1828, Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States by the Electoral College.
In 1833, Oberlin College in Ohio — the first truly coeducational school of higher learning in the United States — began holding classes.
In 1910, Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, died in Chestnut Hill, Mass. at age 89.
In 1925, George Gershwin’s Concerto in F had its world premiere at New York’s Carnegie Hall, with Gershwin at the piano.
In 1947, the Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire” opened on Broadway.
In 1967, surgeons in Cape Town, South Africa, led by Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky, who lived 18 days with the new heart. The 20th Century Limited, the famed luxury train, completed its final run from New York to Chicago.
In 1979, 11 people were killed in a crush of fans at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum, where the British rock group The Who was performing.
In 1980, Bernadine Dohrn, a former leader of the radical Weather Underground, surrendered to authorities in Chicago after more than a decade as a fugitive.
In 1992, the first telephone text message was sent by British engineer Neil Papworth, who transmitted the greeting “Merry Christmas” from his work computer in Newbury, Berkshire, to Vodafone executive Richard Jarvis’ mobile phone.
Ten years ago: A U.N. tribunal convicted and sentenced a radio news director and a newspaper editor to life imprisonment for their role in promoting the 1994 Rwandan genocide. British actor David Hemmings died on a Romanian movie set; he was 62.
Five years ago: President-elect Barack Obama selected New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his commerce secretary. (However, Richardson withdrew a month later when it appeared his confirmation hearings would be complicated by a grand jury investigation over how state contracts were issued to political donors; former Washington Gov. Gary Locke ended up being appointed.) Theological conservatives upset by liberal views of U.S. Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans formed a rival North American province.
One year ago: The White House rejected a Republican proposal to avert the “fiscal cliff,” a plan that included $800 billion in higher tax revenue over 10 years but no increase in tax rates for the wealthy. A U.S. defense official said Syria had been moving its chemical weapons components in recent days; President Barack Obama warned Syria’s Bashar Assad that if he were to use those weapons against rebels fighting his country’s military, “there will be consequences.” Palace officials announced that Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate were expecting their first child.