Ten years ago
Sixteen people were killed by mudslides that swept over campgrounds in California’s San Bernardino Valley. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf survived a second assassination bid in 11 days, but 17 other people were killed. A plane crashed after taking off from Benin, killing 141 of the 163 people aboard. Britain’s Mars lander, the Beagle 2, separated from Europe’s Mars Express, which was orbiting the red planet, but the craft was lost.
Five years ago
Pope Benedict XVI urged a world confronting a financial crisis, conflict, and increasing poverty not to lose hope at Christmas, but to join in “authentic solidarity” to prevent global ruin. President-elect Barack Obama spent a private Christmas with family and close friends in Hawaii. Singer, dancer and actress Eartha Kitt died in Weston, Conn. at age 81. Actress Ann Savage died in Los Angeles at age 87.
One year ago
In his Christmas message to the world, Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to the slaughter in Syria and for more meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, while encouraging more religious freedom under China’s new leaders. Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr., 75, died at a federal prison in North Carolina.