Today is Sunday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2014. There are 24 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1787 - Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

1815 - France's Marshal Ney is shot after a treason trial for aiding Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo.

1842 - The New York Philharmonic gives its first concert.

1858 - French and Spanish announce blockade of Cochin, China.

1895 - Ethiopians defeat Italians at Ambia Alagi, Abyssinia.

1901 - England and Italy agree on settling Sudan frontier.

1917 - The U.S. declares war on Austro-Hungary.

1921 - Austria and United States resume diplomatic relations.

1922 - Northern Ireland votes for nonalignment in Irish Free State.

1940 - The British attack larger Italian forces in Libya by surprise, capturing 40,000 prisoners in three days.

1941 - Japanese air forces attack the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

1944 - The United States formally announces all six Japanese aircraft carriers involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor were sunk.

1949 - Nationalist government of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, fleeing the Communist takeover of mainland China, establishes its seat of government in Taiwan.

1953 - David Ben-Gurion resigns as premier of Israel.

1962 - Forty-two Soviet IL-28 jets, believed to be the entire bomber fleet sent to Cuba, is observed on the decks of Russian ships leaving the island's ports.

1965 - Pope Paul VI and ecumenical patriarch Athenagoras I of Istanbul abolish the mutual excommunication of 1054 that split Christianity into Catholic and Orthodox.

1971 - Unmanned Soviet space capsule sends back radio and television signals from Mars.

1972 - Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos, is slashed during public ceremony in Manila by man who is killed at the scene of the incident.

1974 - Archbishop Makarios returns to Cyprus after five months in exile, and says he will pardon those who plotted his overthrow.

1975 - Indonesia invades East Timor and annexes the region as its 27th province.

1982 - Convicted murderer Charlie Brooks becomes the first U.S. prisoner executed by injection, at a prison in Huntsville, Texas.

1988 - Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, at the United Nations, announces unilateral reduction of his country's troops, tanks, combat aircraft and artillery; massive earthquake in Soviet Armenia claims at least 25,000 lives.

1989 - Republic of Lithuania abolishes constitutional guarantee of communist supremacy and legalizes multiparty system.

1990 - GATT talks among 107 nations are suspended after failure to end impasse between United States and European Community over reductions in farm subsidies.

1992 - The Indian Government announces a ban on fundamentalist groups after more than 200 Muslims and Hindus are killed and a Muslim shrine in Ayodhya is demolished.

1993 - Ivory Coast President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Africa's longest-serving ruler, dies; a gunman opens fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train in New York, killing six people and wounding 17.

1994 - PLO chairman Yasser Arafat pledges to protect Israelis from militant Islamic terrorists and insists that all Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza respect his authority as "the law."

1996 - After nearly 18 days aloft, the Columbia space shuttle and its astronauts return to Earth, ending the longest space shuttle flight ever.

2001 - A consortium of philanthropic foundations announces an initiative to provide treatment for an estimated 2.5 million pregnant women infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.

2002 - Iraq turns over to United Nations weapons inspectors a document detailing its weapons of mass destruction programs and industries with military applications, as required by a November U.N. Security Council resolution.

2006 - The Liberian government issues guns to a unit of its police force, making them the first officers to carry arms since the end of the West African country's 14-year civil war.

2007 - Swarms of desert locusts invade Kenya's arid northeast for the first time since 1962. The ravenous pests, which can devastate crops, contributed to a major food crisis in West Africa three years prior.

2008 - Pakistani troops raid a militant camp and arrest Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a suspected mastermind of the attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai on Nov. 26-29 that killed more than 171 people.

2009 - Tens of thousands of students, many shouting "Death to the Dictator!" and burning pictures of Iran's supreme leader, take to the streets on more than a dozen campuses in the biggest anti-government protests in months.

2010 - President Barack Obama abandons attempts to persuade Israel to slow West Bank settlement activity, dealing a major blow to the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and one of the president's top foreign policy initiatives.

2011 - Preliminary results issued by Congo's electoral commission make it all but certain that President Joseph Kabila will be declared the winner of the recent presidential election, setting the stage for civil unrest as the opposition insists they will reject the results.

2012 - Hamas long-exiled leader Khaled Mashaal makes a triumphant return to the Gaza Strip, showing how the group's defiance of Israel is forcing a change in Palestinian politics and undermining the role of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

2013 - U.S. doctors report unprecedented success by using gene therapy to transform patients' blood cells into soldiers that seek to destroy cancer in one of the biggest advances against leukemia and other blood cancers in many years.

Today's Birthdays:

Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587); Pietro Mascagni, Italian composer (1863-1945); Seigo Takamori, Japanese Restoration hero (1827-1877); Willa Cather, U.S. novelist (1873-1947); Mario Soares, first elected president of Portugal in 60 years (1924--); Noam Chomsky, American linguist and political activist (1928--); Ellen Burstyn, U.S. actress (1932--).

Thought For Today:

Any frontal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready to defend their most precious possession — their ignorance — Hendrik Willem van Loon, Dutch-American journalist and lecturer (1882-1944).