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This day in history

Today is Monday, Dec. 24, the 359th day of 2012. There are seven days left in the year. This is Christmas Eve.

Today’s Birthdays: Rock singer-musician Lemmy (Motorhead) is 67. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is 55. Singer Ricky Martin is 41. Author Stephenie Meyer (“Twilight”) is 39. ‘‘American Idol’’ host Ryan Seacrest is 38.

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In 1814, the War of 1812 officially ended as the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent.

In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed General Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe as part of Operation Overlord.

In 1955, the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs fielded a series of phone calls from children wanting to know the whereabouts of Santa Claus after an ad in a local newspaper mistakenly gave the Center’s number; thus began a tradition continued by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) of tracking Santa’s location the night before Christmas.

In 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts, orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve telecast.

In 1980, Americans remembered the US hostages in Iran by burning candles or shining lights for 417 seconds — one second for each day of captivity.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others in connection with the Iran-Contra scandal.

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