Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 27, 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.
On this date:
In 1512, King Ferdinand II issued the original Laws of Burgos, which were intended to regulate the treatment of indigenous people on Hispaniola by Spanish settlers.
In 1831, naturalist Charles Darwin set out on a round-the-world voyage aboard the HMS Beagle.
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 1932, New York City's Radio City Music Hall opened to the public in midtown Manhattan.
In 1945, 28 nations signed an agreement creating the World Bank.
In 1947, the original version of the puppet character Howdy Doody made its TV debut on NBC's "Puppet Playhouse."
In 1949, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands signed an act recognizing Indonesia's sovereignty after more than three centuries of Dutch rule.
In 1968, Apollo 8 and its three astronauts made a safe, nighttime splashdown in the Pacific.
In 1970, the musical play "Hello, Dolly!" closed on Broadway after a run of 2,844 performances.
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; 19 victims were killed, plus four attackers who were slain by police and security personnel. American naturalist Dian Fossey, 53, who had studied gorillas in the wild in Rwanda, was found hacked to death.
In 2007, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated during a suicide bomb attack in Pakistan following a campaign rally.
Ten years ago: Coordinated rebel assaults in Karbala, Iraq, killed 13 people, including six coalition soldiers. Actor Alan Bates died in London at age 69.
Five years ago: Israel bombed security sites in Hamas-ruled Gaza in retaliation for rocket fire aimed at civilians in southern Israeli towns, opening one of the Mideast conflict's bloodiest assaults in decades. Tens of thousands of people in Pakistan paid homage to Benazir Bhutto on the one-year anniversary of her assassination. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's 18-year-old daughter Bristol gave birth to a son, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston. Sculptor Robert Graham died in Santa Monica, Calif. at age 70.
One year ago: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged to take action to protect the nation's women while the 23-year-old young victim of a gang rape on a New Delhi bus 11 days earlier was flown to Singapore for treatment of severe internal injuries. An Indian-born man, Sunando Sen, was shoved to his death from a New York City subway platform; suspect Erika Menendez is being held on a charge of murder as a hate crime. (Authorities say Menendez pushed Sen because she thought he was Muslim; Sen was Hindu.) Retired Army general Norman Schwarzkopf, 78, died in Tampa, Fla. Character actor Harry Carey Jr., 91, died in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Today's Birthdays: Rockabilly musician Scotty Moore is 82. Actor John Amos is 74. Actress Charmian Carr (Film: "The Sound of Music") is 71. ABC News correspondent Cokie Roberts is 70. Rock musician Mick Jones (Foreigner) is 69. Singer Tracy Nelson is 69. Actor Gerard Depardieu is 65. Jazz singer-musician T.S. Monk is 64. Singer-songwriter Karla Bonoff is 62. Actress Tovah Feldshuh is 61. Rock musician David Knopfler (Dire Straits) is 61. Journalist-turned-politician Arthur Kent is 60. Actress Maryam D'Abo is 53. Country musician Jeff Bryant is 51. Actor Ian Gomez is 49. Actress Theresa Randle is 49. Actress Eva LaRue is 47. Former professional wrestler and actor Bill Goldberg is 47. Actress Tracey Cherelle Jones is 44. Bluegrass singer-musician Darrin Vincent (Dailey & Vincent) is 44. Rock musician Guthrie Govan is 42. Musician Matt Slocum is 41. Actor Wilson Cruz is 40. Singer Olu is 40. Actor Masi Oka is 39. Actor Aaron Stanford is 37. Actress Emilie de Ravin is 32. Christian rock musician James Mead (Kutless) is 31. Rock singer Hayley Williams (Paramore) is 25.
Thought for Today: "Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense." — Gertrude Stein, American author (1874-1946).