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Today in history: December 27

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, Dec. 27, the 361st day of 2005. There are four days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 27, 1932, Radio City Music Hall opened in New York.

On this date:
In 1822, scientist Louis Pasteur was born in Dole, France.

In 1831, naturalist Charles Darwin set out on a voyage to the Pacific aboard the HMS Beagle. (Darwin’s discoveries during the trip helped to form the basis of his theories on evolution.)

In 1900, militant prohibitionist Carry A. Nation carried out her first public smashing of a bar, at the Carey Hotel in Wichita, Kan.

In 1904, James Barrie’s play “Peter Pan: The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” opened at the Duke of York’s Theater in London.

In 1927, the musical play “Show Boat,” with music by Jerome Kern and libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II, opened at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York.

In 1945, 28 nations signed an agreement creating the World Bank.

In 1968, Apollo 8 and its three astronauts made a safe, nighttime splashdown in the Pacific.

In 1979, Soviet forces seized control of Afghanistan. President Hafizullah Amin, who was overthrown and executed, was replaced by Babrak Karmal.

In 1985, Palestinian guerrillas opened fire inside the Rome and Vienna airports; a total of 20 people were killed, including five of the attackers, who were slain by police and security personnel.

In 1985, American naturalist Dian Fossey, who had studied gorillas in the wild, was found hacked to death at a research station in Rwanda.

Ten years ago: Israeli jeeps sped out of the West Bank town of Ramallah, capping a seven-week pullout giving Yasser Arafat control over 90 percent of the West Bank’s 1 million Palestinian residents and one-third of its land.

Five years ago: Software engineer Michael McDermott pleaded innocent to seven counts of murder in the shooting deaths of seven co-workers the day before at an Internet consulting company in Wakefield, Mass. (McDermott was later convicted and sentenced to life without parole.)

One year ago: The death toll continued to rise in southern Asia in the wake of a huge tsunami triggered by a monster earthquake underneath the Indian Ocean. Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko declared victory in Ukraine’s fiercely contested presidential election. In an audiotape, a man purported to be Osama bin Laden endorsed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as his deputy in Iraq and called for a boycott of January’s elections in the country.

Today’s Birthdays: Former U.S. Sen. James A. McClure (R-Idaho) is 81. Rockabilly musician Scotty Moore is 74. ABC News correspondent Cokie Roberts is 62. Singer Tracy Nelson is 61. Actor Gerard Depardieu is 57. Jazz singer-musician T.S. Monk is 56. Singer-songwriter Karla Bonoff is 54. Rock musician David Knopfler (Dire Straits) is 53. Broadcast journalist Arthur Kent is 52. Actress Maryam D’Abo is 45. Country musician Jeff Bryant is 43. Actress Eva LaRue is 39. Rock musician Guthrie Govan (Asia) is 34. Musician Matt Slocum is 33. Actor Wilson Cruz is 32. Singer Olu is 32.

Thought for Today: “Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein, American author (1874-1946).