Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran. - Gulf News Archives Image Credit:

December 24

1524 Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama, who discovered a sea route around Africa to India, dies in Cochin, India.

1798 Britain and Russia sign alliance against France.

1814 US and Britain sign Treaty of Ghent in Belgium, ending War of 1812.

1906 Canadian physicist Reginald A. Fessenden becomes the first American to broadcast a music programme over the radio.

1933 Paris express train derails, killing 160, and leaving 300 injured.

1937 Japanese troops capture Hangchow in China.

1942 Admiral Jean Darlan, French administrator of North Africa, is assassinated in Algiers.

1943 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints General Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces as part of Operation Overlord.

1951 Libya gains independence from Italy.

1953 Train plunges into river in Tangiwai, New Zealand, killing 151 people.

1954 Laos gains its independence.

1979 An estimated 80,000 Soviet soldiers invade Afghanistan.

1989 Deposed Panamanian leader General Manuel Antonio Noriega surrenders.

1994 Militants seize a French jetliner in Algiers and take 239 people hostage.

1995 Israel hands over Bethlehem to Palestine after 28 years of occupation.

1999 The President of the Ivory Coast, Henri Konan Bedie, is overthrown in a coup. Robert Guei becomes military ruler.

2002 Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee inaugurates the first line of the Delhi Metro.

2007 Uzbekistan’s authoritarian President Islam Karimov wins a new term in office in an election dismissed by critics as a sham.

2008 An explosion tears through an apartment building in southern Ukraine, killing at least 17 people.

2009 Yemen air strikes kill 34 Al Qaida militants in Shabwah province.

2010 Former Kerala chief minister and Congress Party veteran K. Karunakaran dies in a private hospital in India, he was 92.

2011 A Southern California teenager, Jordan Romero, 15, becomes the youngest person to reach the summits of the seven tallest mountains on Earth.

2012 An Afghan policewoman shoots and kills an American adviser outside the police headquarters in Kabul.

2013 Egypt declares the country’s Muslim Brotherhood movement a terrorist organisation.

2015 At least 25 are killed in hospital fire in Jazan, Saudi Arabia.

2016 Richard Adams, British novelist dies at the age of 96.

HIGHLIGHT

1987

Tamil Nadu chief minister MGR is dead

Film-star-turned politician M.G. Ramachandran, 70, who was chief minister of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and popularly known as MGR, died of a heart-attack. Hundreds of thousands of people jammed the streets of Chennai to reach the hall where the popular leader’s body lay. The police chief said he had given shoot-to-kill orders to check violence, where crowds set up roadblocks to enforce total mourning for their hero. Six people were killed in police firing and 15 people were admitted with serious bullet wounds. Police described the city as tense with all shops and offices closed and streets empty of vehicles. MGR shot to power after winning millions of hearts in the 1950s as the swashbuckling hero of some of 130 movies. He had been weak since suffering a stroke and kidney failure in 1984. He led the Tamil All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party and was Rajiv Gandhi’s only political ally in opposition-ruled south India.