Today is Wednesday, Dec. 23, the 357th day of 2015. There are eight days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 23, 1823, the poem "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" was published anonymously in the Troy (New York) Sentinel; the verse, more popularly known as "`Twas the Night Before Christmas," was later attributed to Clement C. Moore.
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 1893, the Engelbert Humperdinck opera "Haensel und Gretel" was first performed, in Weimar, Germany.
In 1913, the Federal Reserve System was created as President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act.
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 1954, the first successful human kidney transplant took place at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston as a surgical team removed a kidney from 23-year-old Ronald Herrick and implanted it in Herrick's twin brother, Richard.
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 1975, Richard S. Welch, the Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Athens, was shot and killed outside his home by the militant group November 17.
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.
In 1995, a fire in Dabwali, India, killed 446 people, more than half of them children, during a year-end party being held near the children's school.
Ten years ago: Chad declared itself in a "state of belligerence" with Sudan, accusing its neighbor of aggression. An Azerbaijan Airlines passenger plane carrying 23 people crashed into the Caspian Sea, killing all on board.
Five years ago: Mail bombs blamed on anarchists exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome, seriously wounding two people. Chicago Board of Election Commissioners ruled that former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was a resident of the city and therefore eligible to run for mayor.
One year ago: The movie "The Interview" was put back into theaters when Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a limited release of the comedy that had provoked an international incident with North Korea and outrage over its canceled showing. The NFL's troubles with domestic violence were selected the sports story of the year in an annual vote conducted by The Associated Press.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Ronnie Schell is 84. Emperor Akihito of Japan is 82. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Paul Hornung is 80. Actor Frederic Forrest is 79. Actor James Stacy is 79. Rock musician Jorma Kaukonen (YOR'-mah KOW'-kah-nen) is 75. Rock musician Ron Bushy is 74. Actor-comedian Harry Shearer is 72. U.S. Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark (ret.) is 71. Actress Susan Lucci is 69. Singer-musician Adrian Belew is 66. Rock musician Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) is 59. Actress Joan Severance is 57. Singer Terry Weeks is 52. Rock singer Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) is 51. The former first lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is 48. Rock musician Jamie Murphy is 40. Jazz musician Irvin Mayfield is 38. Actress Estella Warren is 37. Actress Anna Maria Perez de Tagle (TAG'-lee) is 25. Actor Spencer Daniels (TV: "Mom") is 23.
Thought for Today: "Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money." -- Author unknown.