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1989: Romania's 'first couple' executed
Deposed Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena are shot after being found guilty of crimes against the state.

1974: Cyclone Tracy leaves Darwin devastated
The Australian city of Darwin is wrecked by a powerful cyclone that leaves thousands of people homeless.

1991: Gorbachev resigns as Soviet Union breaks up
Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union for almost seven years, steps down from office.

1952: Queen makes first Christmas speech
British and Commonwealth listeners hear the Queen's first Christmas broadcast since her accession to the throne.

1977: Silent film legend Chaplin dies
Charlie Chaplin, the comic genius of silent films, dies at his home in Switzerland at the age of 88.

2003: Mars space probe disappears
Scientists fail to make contact with British-built Mars probe Beagle 2, which should have landed on the Red Planet earlier today.


Around this Day

22 December
Top Story: 1972: Survivors found 10 weeks after plane crash

23 December
Top Story: 1972: Earthquake wreaks devastation in Nicaragua

24 December
Top Story: 1962: Bay of Pigs prisoners fly to freedom

26 December
Top Story: 2004: Thousands die in Asian tsunami

27 December
Top Story: 1965: Sea Gem oil rig collapses

28 December
Top Story: 1980: Green light for breakfast television


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