Today is Sunday, Dec. 17, the 351st day of 2017. There are 14 days left in the year.
On Dec. 17, 1967, Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt, 59, disappeared while swimming in the ocean off Cheviot Beach in Victoria state; despite an extensive search, his body was never found In 1777, France recognized American independence.
In 1865, Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8, known as the "Unfinished" because only two movements had been completed, was first performed publicly in Vienna 37 years after the composer's death.
In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned powered-airplane flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.
In 1944, the U.S. War Department announced it was ending its policy of excluding people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.
In 1957, the United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.
In 1981, members of the Red Brigades kidnapped Brig. Gen. James L. Dozier, the highest-ranking U.S. Army official in southern Europe, from his home in Verona, Italy. (Dozier was rescued 42 days later.)
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in separate ceremonies. (After approval by the legislative bodies of the leaders' respective countries, the treaty came into force on Jan. 1, 1994.)
In 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died after more than a decade of iron rule; he was 69, according to official records, but some reports indicated he was 70.
Birthdays: Pope Francis is 81. Rock singer-musician Art Neville is 80. Actor Ernie Hudson is 72. Political commentator Chris Matthews is 72. Comedian-actor Eugene Levy is 71. Pop musician Jim Bonfanti (The Raspberries) is 69. Rhythm-and-blues singer Wanda Hutchinson (The Emotions) is 66. Rock musician Mike Mills (R.E.M.) is 59. Actress Milla Jovovich is 42.
Thought for Today: "A fool and his money are soon parted, but you never call him a fool till the money is gone." -- Author unknown.