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Dec. 22 in history: Cheers for the first crossword puzzle, jeers for the shoe bomber

In 1981, the bill to amend and patriate the Canadian Constitution wastabled in the British House of Commons by Deputy Foreign SecretaryHumphrey Atkins.

In 1981, the bill to amend and patriate the Canadian Constitution was tabled in the British House of Commons by Deputy Foreign Secretary Humphrey Atkins.

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In 1216, Pope Honorius III officially approved the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), founded in the same year by St. Dominic. During the Middle Ages, many leaders of European thought were Dominicans; and a good number followed Portuguese and Spanish explorers to the New World as missionaries.

In 1715, Francois Gaultier de la Verendrye, the last of the family of great French explorers, was baptized. He discovered the Saskatchewan River in 1739 and spent more than 10 years on the Prairies. He and his brother Joseph may have been the first Caucasian men to see the Rocky Mountains.

In 1856, the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway was opened from Fort Erie to Stratford, Ont. It would later become the Grand Trunk.

In 1859, the “Nor' Wester” became the first newspaper published in the Prairies.

In 1869, Newfoundland voted against joining Canada.

In 1894, French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. (Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.)

In 1896, a Paris arbitration tribunal ruled that the Bering Sea was not an American preserve and that the United States would have to pay Canada $436,000 in compensation for B.C. fishing vessels seized in the area. The ruling followed a decade-long fight that began when Washington, annoyed at having been ordered to pay Canada $5.5 million in another fishing rights dispute, claimed jurisdiction over the Bering Sea.

In 1913, the first modern crossword puzzle appeared in “Fun,” a supplement of the New York “World.” The paper's other claim to fame is that it sponsored a baseball championship -- the World Series.

In 1917, the federal government announced that no liquor or beverage containing more than two per cent alcohol could be imported into Canada.

In 1938, Lucien Bouchard was born in Saint-Coeur-de-Marie, Que. After earlier allegiances to the NDP, Liberals and Parti Quebecois, Bouchard became an active supporter of the federal Conservatives in the early 1980's. A former university classmate, Brian Mulroney, appointed Bouchard ambassador to France in 1985 then recalled him to Canada and named him to his cabinet as Secretary of State in 1988. Bouchard quit the cabinet on May 22, 1990 over suggested changes to the Meech Lake Accord and formed the separatist Bloc Quebecois. After nearly rallying the “Yes” side to victory in the 1995 referendum, Bouchard left federal politics the following year to replace Jacques Parizeau as Parti Quebecois leader and Quebec premier. Bouchard announced his departure from those jobs on Jan. 11, 2001 and later joined a Montreal law firm.

In 1938, a coelacanth, a fish thought to have been extinct for 65 million years, was caught off the coast of South Africa.

In 1944, British and U.S. forces mounted counter-attacks against the German offensive in the Ardennes, ending German advancements in the Battle of the Bulge during the Second World War.

In 1952, Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent announced government plans to establish a national library.

In 1956, British and French forces completed their withdrawal from Port Said, Egypt, during the Suez Crisis.

In 1967, while discussing proposed changes to the Criminal Code, federal justice minister Pierre Trudeau stated, “There is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” (Note: the quote actually first appeared in a “Globe and Mail” editorial.)

In 1969, Mary Mills was ordained the first woman deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada in London, Ont. Seven years later, Mills became one of the Church's first six women priests.

In 1973, “Canadian” magazine quoted author Pierre Berton as saying, “A Canadian is somebody who knows how to make love in a canoe.”

In 1977, federal government approval was announced for the design and cost details for the first of six new naval frigates, part of a $1.5 billion naval program.

In 1977, three dozen people were killed when a 250-foot-high grain elevator at the Continental Grain Company plant in Westwego, La., exploded.

In 1980, Ethel Wilson, author of several novels and a book of short stories, died in Vancouver at age 92.

In 1984, racial tensions increased in New York City when a white subway rider, Bernhard Goetz, shot four black youths on a Manhattan train. Goetz claimed they were about to rob him. He spent 250 days in jail for a weapons violation.

In 1986, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that four sections of Quebec's controversial language law were invalid. After the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the decision, the Quebec legislature passed a new law two years later that allowed French-only on signs outside stores and bilingual signs inside.

In 1987, Chinese thieves caused chaos in the streets of Xianyang in north China when they stole 2,249 manhole covers to sell back to government departments.

In 1988, Brazilian environmentalist Chico Mendes was shot and killed. (A rancher, Darly Alves da Silva, was sentenced in 1990 to 19 years in jail for ordering Mendes slain.)

In 1989, Nobel Prize-winning Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, died.

In 1989, Romania's hardline president, Nicolae Ceausescu, was toppled from power and executed in a popular uprising marred by clashes between loyalist and opposition forces.

In 1990, Lech Walesa was sworn in as the first democratically elected president in Poland.

In 1992, a Libyan Boeing 727 crashed during a domestic flight, killing all 157 people on board.

In 1993, a new sign law came into effect in Quebec ending the controversial ban on English on store signs.

In 1997, Dr. Maurice Genereux pleaded guilty to assisting two HIV-positive patients to attempt suicide, becoming the first physician in Canada to be convicted of such a crime.

In 1998, Pierre Vallieres, writer and former leader of the terrorist FLQ, died in Montreal at age 60.

In 2000, Russia acknowledged for the first time that the Soviets wrongfully persecuted Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who was imprisoned for more than two years on espionage charges until he died in a KGB prison. Wallenberg is credited with saving at least 20,000 Jews from being sent to concentration camps in Hungary during the Second World War.

In 2001, Richard C. Reid, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, but was subdued by flight attendants and other passengers. He was later sentenced to life in prison.

In 2003, CIBC agreed to pay US$80 million as part of a settlement with U.S. and Canadian regulators over allegations it aided and abetted the massive accounting fraud at the energy company, Enron Corp.

In 2004, Vancouver Canucks player Todd Bertuzzi received a conditional discharge after agreeing to plead guilty to assault causing bodily harm for a sucker-punch to rival player Steve Moore.

In 2005, Barrick Gold Corp. sweetened its takeover offer for Placer Dome, agreeing to pay US$10.4 billion.

In 2006, Olympic champion Myriam Bedard was arrested in Maryland over allegations that she abducted her 12-year-old daughter. (A Quebec jury found her guilty and she received a conditional discharge and two years probation.)

In 2008, broadcaster Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin, the former host of CTV's “Canada AM” and a former Ottawa bureau chief for the television network, were among 18 new Senators appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially named Thomas Cromwell of Nova Scotia to the Supreme Court of Canada, forgoing a public hearing that had been promised into his appointment.

In 2008, President Lansana Conte, who ruled the West African country of Guinea for nearly 25 years, died at age 74. Hours later, a coup was declared, and parliament and the constitution were dissolved.

In 2009, in a landmark ruling on freedom of expression, the Supreme Court of Canada created a new legal defence to libel lawsuits that would shield journalists who fairly and responsibly report stories of public interest. The ruling set the stage for the law to be applied to new trials in two Ontario cases, one involving the Toronto Star, the other involving the Ottawa Citizen.

In 2009, an American Airlines plane with more than 150 people on board overshot the runway and broke up while landing in heavy rain in Kingston, Jamaica, injuring more than 40 people. Three Canadians were also on board.

In 2010, a divided Supreme Court of Canada upheld the right of the provinces to regulate in-vitro fertilization. But the court said the federal government was within its rights in banning cloning and human hybrids.

In 2010, U.S. president Barack Obama signed a landmark bill repealing the Clinton-era policy known as “don't ask, don't tell,” ordering America's armed services to let gays and lesbians serve openly for the first time.

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