Today in History - Dec. 6

AP News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2009 12:18 AM

Today is Sunday, Dec. 6, the 340th day of 2009. There are 25 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 6, 1884, Army engineers completed construction of the Washington Monument by setting an aluminum capstone atop the obelisk.

On this date:

In 1790, Congress moved to Philadelphia from New York.

In 1889, Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederate States of America, died in New Orleans.

In 1907, the worst mining disaster in U.S. history occurred as 362 men and boys died in a coal mine explosion in Monongah, W.Va.

In 1917, some 2,000 people died when an explosives-laden French cargo ship collided with a Norwegian vessel at the harbor in Halifax, Nova Scotia, setting off a blast that devastated the city.

In 1922, the Irish Free State came into being under terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

In 1939, the Cole Porter musical comedy "Du Barry Was a Lady" opened on Broadway.

In 1947, Everglades National Park in Florida was dedicated by President Harry S. Truman.

In 1957, America's first attempt at putting a satellite into orbit failed as Vanguard TV3 rose about four feet off a Cape Canaveral launch pad before crashing down and exploding.

In 1969, a free concert by the Rolling Stones at the Altamont Speedway in Alameda County, Calif., was marred by the deaths of four people, including one who was stabbed by a Hell's Angel.

In 1989, 14 women were shot to death at the University of Montreal's school of engineering by a man who then took his own life.

Ten years ago: The Supreme Court, reconsidering its landmark Miranda ruling, agreed to decide whether police were still required to warn criminal suspects that they had a "right to remain silent." (The justices upheld that right the following June.) SabreTech, an aircraft maintenance company, was convicted of mishandling the oxygen canisters blamed for the cargo hold fire that caused the 1996 ValuJet crash in the Florida Everglades that killed 110 people. (Eight of the nine counts were later thrown out on appeal.)

Five years ago: Militants struck the U.S. Consulate in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, with explosives and machine guns, killing nine people in an attack claimed by al-Qaida. Ohio certified President George W. Bush's 119,000-vote victory over Democrat John Kerry, even as the Kerry campaign and third-party candidates prepared to demand a statewide recount. A dozen expensive homes under construction in Indian Head, Md., were deliberately burned down. (Five men either pleaded guilty or were convicted in the case; prosecutors had cited a variety of motives, including anger by some of the white perpetrators that most of the new homeowners were black.)

One year ago: President-elect Barack Obama said in a Saturday radio and Internet address that he'd asked his economic team for a recovery plan that would save or create more than 2 million jobs. Indicted Democratic U.S. Rep. William Jefferson was ousted from his New Orleans area district in a special election won by Republican attorney Anh "Joseph" Cao, who became the first Vietnamese-American in Congress. A Greek youth, 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, was shot to death during a confrontation with police in Athens, sparking two weeks of riots. Heiress Martha "Sunny" von Bulow, who'd spent the last 28 years of her life in a coma, died in New York City at age 76.

Today's Birthdays: Jazz musician Dave Brubeck is 89. Pro Football Hall of Famer Andy Robustelli is 84. Comedy performer David Ossman is 73. Actor Patrick Bauchau is 71. Country singer Helen Cornelius is 68. Actor James Naughton is 64. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is 64. R&B singer Frankie Beverly (Maze) is 63. Former Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., is 61. Actress JoBeth Williams is 61. Actor Tom Hulce is 56. Actor Kin Shriner is 56. Actor Wil Shriner is 56. Actor Miles Chapin is 55. Rock musician Rick Buckler (The Jam) is 54. Comedian Steven Wright is 54. Country singer Bill Lloyd is 54. Singer Tish Hinojosa is 54. Rock musician Peter Buck (R.E.M.) is 53. Rock musician David Lovering (Pixies) is 48. Actress Janine Turner is 47. Rock musician Ben Watt (Everything But The Girl) is 47. Writer-director Judd Apatow is 42. Rock musician Ulf "Buddha" Ekberg (Ace of Base) is 39. Writer-director Craig Brewer is 38. Actress Colleen Haskell is 33. Actress Lindsay Price is 33. Christian rock musician Jacob Chesnut (Rush of Fools) is 20.

Thought for Today: "Marriage is a lottery in which men stake their liberty and women their happiness." _ Madame Virginie de Rieux, 16th-century French writer.