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Today in history, December 7: Attack on Pearl Harbor

Japanese planes attacked the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on this day in 1941, causing America’s declaration of war on Japan.

Today in history, December 7: Attack on Pearl Harbor

The destroyer USS Shaw explodes after being hit by bombs during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.Source:AP

Highlights in history on this date:

The first white men camp at Limestone Plains, the site of Australia’s future national capital, Canberra.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera The Gondoliers premieres in London.

Commonwealth and South Australia agree on the transfer of Northern Territory to the Commonwealth.

Evacuation of Anzac forces from Gallipoli begins.

Handwritten order from General Birdwood giving instructions for the evacuation from Anzac Cove, Gallipoli. Picture: Australian War MemorialSource:News Corp Australia

Northern Ireland votes for non-alignment in Irish Free State.

The British make a surprise attack on larger Italian forces in Libya, capturing 40,000 prisoners in three days.

Japanese planes attack the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, destroying many aircraft and ships and precipitating the US declaration of war on Japan.

Nationalist government of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, fleeing the Communist takeover of mainland China, establishes its seat of government in Taiwan.

David Ben-Gurion resigns as premier of Israel.

David Ben-Gurion resigned as Israel premier.Source:Supplied

Unmanned Soviet space capsule sends back radio and television signals from planet Mars.

Indonesia invades East Timor.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, at United Nations, announces unilateral reduction of his country’s troops, tanks, combat aircraft and artillery.

The Australian Federal Court finds Aboriginal Affairs Minister Robert Tickner failed to follow due process in placing a 25-year ban on the Hindmarsh Island Bridge; a probe from the Galileo spacecraft enters the gases of Jupiter’s atmosphere and sends back 75 minutes of data before it disintegrates.

After nearly 18 days aloft, Columbia and its astronauts return to Earth, ending the longest-ever space shuttle flight.

The Columbia space shuttle lifts off on November 19, 1996.Source:AFP

A teenage student apparently bent on revenge opens fire inside a high school in the Netherlands, wounding a teacher and four students in the first school shooting in Dutch history.

A consortium of philanthropic foundations announces an initiative to provide treatment for an estimated 2.5 million pregnant women infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.

Iraq turns over to United Nations weapons inspectors a document detailing its weapons of mass destruction programs and industries with military applications.

Hamid Karzai is sworn in as Afghanistan’s first popularly elected president.

Swarms of desert locusts invade Kenya’s arid northeast.

Pakistani troops raid a militant camp and arrest Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a suspected mastermind of the attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai on November 26-29 that killed more than 171 people.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is arrested in the UK, on a Swedish warrant, wanted for questioning over allegations of rape, unlawful coercion and sexual molestation.

Julian Assange after being arrested on a European warrant. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/APSource:AP

US doctors report unprecedented success by using gene therapy to transform patients’ blood cells into soldiers that seek to destroy cancer.

Typhoon Hagupit tears apart homes and sends waves crashing through coastal communities across the eastern Philippines.

A teenager is jailed for seven years in Melbourne after planning to set off a homemade bomb in the city’s CBD; his sentence is later increased to 11 years after an appeal by Commonwealth prosecutors.

federal parliament votes to make same-sex marriage legal in Australia.

The second-largest ebola outbreak in history spreads to a major city in eastern Congo, as health experts worry whether there will be enough experimental vaccine to keep up with demand.

Happy Birthday, Nicholas Hoult!Source:AFP

Noam Chomsky, US linguist and political activist (1928); Ellen Burstyn, US actor (1932); Tom Waits, US singer-songwriter (1949); Amanda Vanstone, Australian politician and diplomat (1952); John Watkins, Australian politician (1955); Geoff Lawson, Australian cricketer (1957); C. Thomas Howell, US actor (1966); Aaron Carter, US pop singer (1987); Emily Browning, Australian actor (1988), Nicholas Hoult, UK actor (1989).

“Any frontal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most precious possession – their ignorance.” – Hendrik Willem van Loon, Dutch-American journalist and lecturer (1882-1944).

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