Today in History - Dec. 11

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2009 12:01 AM

Today is Friday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2009. There are 20 days left in the year. The Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, begins at sunset.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 11, 1936, Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.

On this date:

In 1792, France's King Louis XVI went before the Convention to face charges of treason. (Louis was convicted, and executed the following month.)

In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.

In 1882, Boston's renamed Bijou Theatre, the first American playhouse to be lighted exclusively by electricity, debuted with a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe."

In 1928, police in Buenos Aires announced they had thwarted an attempt on the life of President-elect Herbert Hoover.

In 1937, Italy announced it was withdrawing from the League of Nations.

In 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

In 1946, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, or UNICEF, was established.

In 1981, the U.N. Security Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru to be the fifth secretary-general of the world body.

In 1983, Pope John Paul II visited a Lutheran church in Rome, the first visit by a Roman Catholic pontiff to a Protestant church in his own diocese.

In 1997, more than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth's greenhouse gases.

Ten years ago: Agreeing with his wife, Hillary, President Bill Clinton told CBS Radio his 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military wasn't working, and he pledged to work with the Pentagon to find a way to fix it. Ron Dayne, Wisconsin's record-setting tailback, was a landslide winner in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

Five years ago: Doctors in Austria determined that Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko had been poisoned with dioxin, which caused the severe disfigurement and partial paralysis of his face. Vitali Klitschko stopped Danny Williams in the eighth round to retain his WBC heavyweight title. Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart won the 70th Heisman Trophy.

One year ago: Former Nasdaq chairman Bernard Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that destroyed thousands of people's life savings and wrecked charities. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.) The remains of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony were found six months after she disappeared. (Her mother, Casey Anthony, is charged with first-degree murder.) A suicide bomber killed at least 55 people near Kirkuk, Iraq. Former Teamsters Union president Ron Carey died in New York at age 72. Former pinup model Bettie Page died in Los Angeles at age 85.

Today's Birthdays: Composer Elliott Carter is 101. Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 79. Actress Rita Moreno is 78. Former California state lawmaker Tom Hayden is 70. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 69. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 68. Actress Donna Mills is 67. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is 66. Singer Brenda Lee is 65. Actress Lynda Day George is 65. Music producer Tony Brown is 63. Actress Teri Garr is 62. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 57. Actress Bess Armstrong is 56. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 55. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 52. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 51. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 48. Actor Ben Browder is 47. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 45. Rock musician David Schools (Gov't Mule, Widespread Panic) is 45. Actor Gary Dourdan is 43. Actress-comedian Mo'Nique ("The Parkers") is 42. Actor Max Martini is 40. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 36. Actor Rider Strong is 30.

Thought for Today: "The fear of life is the favorite disease of the 20th century."_ William Lyon Phelps, American educator and journalist (1865-1943).