Today in History

Today is Monday, Dec. 23, the 357th day of 2013. There are eight days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On Dec. 23, 1913, the Federal Reserve System was created as President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act.

On this date:

In 1788, Maryland passed an act to cede an area “not exceeding ten miles square” for the seat of the national government; about 2/3 of the area became the District of Columbia.

In 1823, the poem “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” was published anonymously in the Troy (N.Y.) Sentinel; the verse, more popularly known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” was later attributed to Clement C. Moore.

In 1893, the Engelbert Humperdinck opera “Haensel und Gretel” was first performed, in Weimar, Germany.

In 1928, the National Broadcasting Company set up a permanent, coast-to-coast network.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt restored the civil rights of about 1,500 people who’d been jailed for opposing the (First) World War.

In 1941, during World War II, American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese.

In 1948, former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were executed in Tokyo.

In 1953, the Soviet Union announced the execution of Lavrentiy Beria, former head of the secret police, for treason.

In 1962, Cuba began releasing prisoners from the failed Bay of Pigs invasion under an agreement in which Cuba received more than $50 million worth of food and medical supplies.

In 1968, 82 crew members of the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo were released by North Korea, 11 months after they had been captured.

In 1972, in football’s “Immaculate Reception,” Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers caught a pass thrown by Terry Bradshaw and scored a touchdown after the ball was deflected during a collision between Jack Tatum of the Oakland Raiders and the Steelers’ John Fuqua; the Steelers won, 13-7. A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Nicaragua; the disaster claimed some 5,000 lives.

In 1986, the experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, completed the first non-stop, non-refueled round-the-world flight as it returned safely to Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Ten years ago: The government announced the first suspected (later confirmed) case of mad cow disease in United States, in Washington state. A jury in Chesapeake, Va., sentenced teen sniper Lee Boyd Malvo to life in prison, sparing him the death penalty. A gas well accident in southwestern China killed 233 people. New York Gov. George Pataki posthumously pardoned comedian Lenny Bruce for his 1964 obscenity conviction.

Five years ago: Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet (reh-NAY’-tee-ay-REE’ ma-GOHN’ duh lah veel-oo-SHAY’), founder of an investment fund that had lost $1.4 billion in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, was discovered dead after committing suicide at his Madison Avenue office. A military-led group seized control of the airwaves in Guinea and declared a coup after the death of the country’s long-time dictator, Lansana Conte.

One year ago: President Barack Obama, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and other dignitaries attended a memorial service for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye at Honolulu’s National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Jean Harris, the patrician girls’ school headmistress who’d spent 12 years in prison for the 1980 killing of her longtime lover, “Scarsdale Diet” doctor Herman Tarnower, died in New Haven, Conn., at age 89.

Associated Press

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