Highlights in history on this date:
1621 - Galileo perfects the telescope.
1694 - Triennial Bill becomes law in England, providing for new Parliament to be elected every third year.
1775 - Lieutenant John Paul Jones hoists the first seagoing American flag on the newly commissioned continental Naval ship, the Alfred.
1808 - Madrid surrenders to Napoleon Bonaparte's French forces.
1828 - Andrew Jackson is elected the seventh president of the United States.
1944 - US forces cross Saar River in Germany in World War II.
1948 - The House of Un-American Activities Committee announces former Communist spy Whittaker Chambers produced a microfilm of secret documents hidden inside a pumpkin on his Maryland farm.
1952 - UN General Assembly adopts India's proposal for Korean armistice.
1958 - Dutch businesses are nationalised in Indonesia.
1962 - London is blanketed by one of the worst fogs in years and scores of people die of sulphur dioxide poisoning before it lifts four days later.
1967 - Surgeons in Cape Town, South Africa, led by Dr Christiaan Barnard, perform the first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky, who lives 18 days with the new organ.
1970 - British envoy James Cross is rescued after being held by Quebec terrorists in Canada for almost two months.
1975 - Communists take control of Laos and declare end to 600-year-old monarchy.
1984 - More than 4000 people die after a cloud of gas escapes from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India.
1988 - Pakistan's Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, in her first official act, calls for the release of about 1000 political prisoners and commutes all death sentences.
1992 - A spill of millions of gallons of crude oil off the coast of La Coruna, Spain, threatens ecological disaster.
1997 - Representatives of more than 120 nations gather in Ottawa, Canada, to sign a treaty banning land mines.
1998 - Making their first collective decision about monetary policy, 11 European nations cut interest rates in a surprise move to fight the global economic slowdown.
1999 - Tori Murden, a Kentucky lawyer, becomes the first American - and first woman - to row 4800km solo across the Atlantic.
2002 - The World Food Program warns the UN Security Council that a record 38 million people are at risk of starvation in Africa.
2007 - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez loses a constitutional vote that would have let him run for re-election indefinitely.
2011 - The Australian Labor Party votes in favour of same-sex marriage at its national conference, reversing its party platform and allowing state and federal Labor MPs a conscience vote on the issue.
2013 - French scientists looking into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat dismiss poisoning by radioactive polonium, his widow says, contradicting earlier findings by a Swiss lab.
2015 - A South African court convicts Oscar Pistorius of the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on appeal, with the athlete later sentenced to six years in prison.
2016 - Queensland MP Lawrence Springborg announces he will quit state parliament at the next election.
Joseph Conrad, Polish-British writer (1857-1924); Andy Williams, US singer (1927-2012); Jean-Luc Godard, French film director (1930-); Ozzy Osbourne, British rock singer (1948-); Daryl Hannah, US actress (1960-); Julianne Moore, US actress (1960-); Carrie Bickmore, Australian television and radio presenter (1980-); Amanda Seyfried, US actress (1985-).
Thought For Today:
There is many a good man to be found under a shabby hat - Chinese proverb.