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War of 1812 ends as U.S. and Britain sign Treaty of Ghent in 1814

By The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Dec. 24, the 359th day of 2020. There are seven days left in the year. This is Christmas Eve.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 24, 1814, the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812 following ratification by both the British Parliament and the U.S. Senate.

On this date:

In 1524, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama — who had discovered a sea route around Africa to India — died in Cochin, India.

In 1851, fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroying about 35,000 volumes.

In 1865, several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski, Tennessee, that was the original version of the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1913, 73 people, most of them children, died in a crush of panic after a false cry of “Fire!” during a Christmas party for striking miners and their families at the Italian Hall in Calumet, Michigan.

In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe as part of Operation Overlord.

In 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts, orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve telecast.

In 1980, Americans remembered the U.S. hostages in Iran by burning candles or shining lights for 417 seconds — one second for each day of captivity.

In 1984, actor Peter Lawford, 61, died in Los Angeles.

In 1992, President Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others in the Iran-Contra scandal.

In 1993, the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, who blended Christian and psychiatric principles into a message of “positive thinking,” died in Pawling, New York, at age 95.

In 2014, Sony Pictures broadly released “The Interview” online — an unprecedented counterstroke against the hackers who’d spoiled the Christmas opening of the comedy depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused President Barack Obama of a “shameful ambush” at the United Nations and said he was looking forward to working with his “friend” Donald Trump; Netanyahu’s comments came a day after the U.S. broke with past practice and allowed the Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI ushered in Christmas Eve with an evening Mass amid heightened security concerns following package bombings at two Rome embassies and Christmas Eve security breaches at the Vatican the previous two years.

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