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This Day in History, Dec. 23

1913: In a major reform of U.S. banking and finance, the Federal Reserve System is authorized.
1947: Three Bell Labs scientists—John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley—invent the transistor.
1948: Hideki Tojo, prime minister of Japan from 1941 to 1944, is executed for war crimes.
1972: The city of Managua, Nicaragua is virtually leveled by an earthquake ; about 5,000 are killed and 20,000 injured.
1975: U.S. President Gerald Ford signs the Metric Conversion Act of 1975. It coordinates conversion to the metric system, but does not specify a time schedule.
1987: Dick Rutan and Jeana Yaeger complete the first nonstop airplane flight around the world, setting a record of 216 hours of continuous flight.
1997: Terry Nichols is convicted on charges relating to the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK.
2003: Lee Malvo is sentenced to life in prison for his role in the sniper attacks in Washington, D.C. , which killed 10; Malvo was 17 at the time of the attacks. A Holstein cow in Washington state is found to have mad cow disease.

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