Today in History - Dec. 10

AP News
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Posted: Dec 10, 2009 7:05 AM

Today is Thursday, Dec. 10, the 344th day of 2009. There are 21 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 10, 1884, Mark Twain's novel "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was first published, in Canada as well as England (the book was not released in the United States until February 1885).

On this date:

In 1520, Martin Luther publicly burned the papal edict demanding that he recant, or face excommunication.

In 1817, Mississippi was admitted as the 20th state.

In 1869, women were granted the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt became the first American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for helping mediate an end to the Russo-Japanese War.

In 1931, Jane Addams became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (the co-recipient was Nicholas Murray Butler).

In 1948, the U.N. General Assembly adopted its Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

In 1950, Ralph J. Bunche was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the first black American to receive the award.

In 1964, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1967, singer Otis Redding, 26, and six others were killed when their plane crashed into Wisconsin's Lake Monona.

In 1984, South African Bishop Desmond Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ten years ago: After three years under suspicion as a spy for China, computer scientist Wen Ho Lee was arrested and charged with removing secrets from secure computers at the Los Alamos weapons lab. (Lee was later freed after pleading guilty to one count of downloading restricted data to tape; 58 other counts were dropped.) More than two million people marched in Cuba to demand the return of Elian Gonzalez. Death claimed Croatian President Franjo Tudjman at 77, rock singer-musician Rick Danko at 56, actress Shirley Hemphill at 52.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush picked Samuel Bodman to be the new energy secretary. Bernard Kerik withdrew his name from consideration to be President Bush's homeland security secretary. An Italian court cleared Premier Silvio Berlusconi of corruption charges in his long-running trial. Sprinter Michelle Collins was suspended for eight years for a doping violation linked to the BALCO scandal. (Collins was reinstated in May 2008.)

One year ago: Defying calls for his resignation, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich showed up for work on his 52nd birthday despite charges he'd schemed to enrich himself by offering to sell President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat. The House approved a plan, 237-170, to speed $14 billion in loans to Detroit's automakers. U.S. Special Forces killed six Afghan police in a case of mistaken identity by both sides after the police fired on the Americans during an operation against an insurgent commander.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Harold Gould is 86. Former Agriculture Secretary Clayton Yeutter is 79. Actor Tommy Kirk is 68. Actress Fionnula Flanagan is 68. Pop singer Chad Stuart (Chad and Jeremy) is 68. Actress-singer Gloria Loring is 63. Pop-funk musician Walter "Clyde" Orange (The Commodores) is 63. R&B singer Ralph Tavares is 61. R&B singer Jessica Cleaves (Friends of Distinction) is 61. Country singer Johnny Rodriguez is 58. Actress Susan Dey is 57. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is 53. Actor Michael Clarke Duncan is 52. Jazz musician Paul Hardcastle is 52. Actor-director Kenneth Branagh is 49. Actress Nia Peeples is 48. TV chef Bobby Flay is 45. Rock singer-musician J Mascis is 44. Country singer Kevin Sharp is 39. Rock musician Scot Alexander (Dishwalla) is 38. Actress-comedian Arden Myrin is 36. Rock musician Meg White (The White Stripes) is 35. Violinist Sarah Chang is 29. Actress Raven-Symone is 24.

Thought for Today: "Originality and a feeling of one's own dignity are achieved only through work and struggle." _ Feodor Dostoyevsky, Russian author (1821-1881).