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Today in History - December 26
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    Today is Wednesday, Dec. 26, the 360th day of 2007. There are five days left in the year. The seven-day African-American holiday Kwanzaa begins today. This is Boxing Day.
    Today’s Highlight in History:
    On Dec. 26, 2004, more than 200,000 people, mostly in southern Asia, were killed by a tsunami triggered by the world’s most powerful earthquake in 40 years beneath the Indian Ocean.
    On this date:
    In 1776, the British suffered a major defeat in the Battle of Trenton during the Revolutionary War.
    In 1799, George Washington was eulogized by Col. Henry Lee as ‘‘first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.’’
    In 1917, during World War I, President Wilson issued a proclamation authorizing the government to take over operation of the nation’s railroads.
    In 1941, Winston Churchill became the first British prime minister to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.
    In 1944, during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, the embattled U.S. 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne, Belgium, was relieved by units of the 4th Armored Division.
    In 1947, heavy snow blanketed the Northeast, burying New York City under 26.4 inches of snow in 16 hours; the severe weather was blamed for some 80 deaths.
    In 1957, the Ingmar Bergman film ‘‘Wild Strawberries,’’ starring Victor Sjostrom, opened in Sweden.
    In 1967, ‘‘Magical Mystery Tour,’’ The Beatles’ critically drubbed one-hour special, aired on BBC-1 television.
    In 1972, the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, died in Kansas City, Mo., at age 88.
    In 1996, 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colo. (To date, the slaying remains unsolved, despite a widely publicized ‘‘confession’’ by John Mark Karr.)
    Ten years ago: Badly battered South Korean financial markets surged after the International Monetary Fund and the Group of Seven countries agreed on a total of $10 billion in emergency loans to Seoul.
    Five years ago: It was announced that West Virginia resident Jack Whittaker had won the $314.9 million Powerball lottery jackpot, at that time a record prize. Israeli soldiers killed seven Palestinians in West Bank raids and reimposed a curfew on Bethlehem after briefly withdrawing over Christmas.
    One year ago: Gerald R. Ford, who took over the White House after Richard Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal, died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at age 93. Iraq’s highest court rejected Saddam Hussein’s appeal of his conviction and death sentence and said the former president should be hanged within 30 days. (Saddam was executed on Dec. 30, 2006, Iraq time.)
    Today’s Birthdays: Actor Richard Widmark is 93. Actor Donald Moffat is 77. Rhythm-and-blues singer Abdul ‘‘Duke’’ Fakir (The Four Tops) is 72. Record producer Phil Spector is 67. ‘‘America’s Most Wanted’’ host John Walsh is 62. Country musician Bob Carpenter (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 61. Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk is 60. Former baseball player Chris Chambliss is 59. Rock musician James Kottak (The Scorpions) is 45. Country musician Brian Westrum (Sons of the Desert) is 45. Rock musician Lars Ulrich (Metallica) is 44. Actress Nadia Dajani is 42. Rock musician J is 40. Country singer Audrey Wiggins is 40. Rock musician Peter Klett (Candlebox) is 38. Rock singer James Mercer (The Shins) is 37. Actor Jared Leto is 36. Rock singer Chris Daughtry is 28. Actor Zach Mills is 12.
    Thought for Today: ‘‘Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil. Our great hope lies in developing what is good.’’ — President Coolidge (1872-1933).

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