Today's Highlights in History:
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; 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.
Today's Birthdays: Movie director Jean-Luc Godard is 83. Singer Jaye P. Morgan is 82. Actor Nicolas Coster is 80. Actress Mary Alice is 72. Rock singer Ozzy Osbourne is 65. Actress Heather Menzies is 64. Rock singer Mickey Thomas is 64. Country musician Paul Gregg (Restless Heart) is 59. Actor Steven Culp is 58. Actress Daryl Hannah is 53. Actress Julianne Moore is 53. Olympic gold medal figure skater Katarina Witt is 48. Actor Brendan Fraser is 45. Singer Montell Jordan is 45. Actor Royale Watkins is 44. Actor Bruno Campos is 40. Actress Holly Marie Combs is 40. Actress Liza Lapira (TV: Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) is 38. Actress Lauren Roman is 38. Pop-rock singer Daniel Bedingfield is 34. Actress Anna Chlumsky is 33. Actor Brian Bonsall is 32. Pop/rock singer-songwriter Andy Grammer is 30. Actress Amanda Seyfried is 28. Actor Michael Angarano is 26. Actor Jake T. Austin is 19.
Thought for Today: "There is a way to look at the past. Don't hide from it. It will not catch you if you don't repeat it." -- Pearl Bailey, American entertainer (1918-1990).