Today in History - Dec. 15

AP News
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Posted: Dec 15, 2009 12:01 AM

Today is Tuesday, Dec. 15, the 349th day of 2009. There are 16 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights went into effect following ratification by Virginia.

On this date:

In 1890, Sioux Chief Sitting Bull and 11 other tribe members were killed in Grand River, S.D., during a confrontation with Indian police.

In 1893, Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, "From the New World," was rehearsed before the public at New York's Carnegie Hall (the official world premiere was held the next day).

In 1938, groundbreaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington, D.C., with President Franklin D. Roosevelt taking part.

In 1939, the motion picture "Gone With the Wind" had its world premiere in Atlanta.

In 1944, a single-engine plane carrying bandleader Glenn Miller, a major in the U.S. Army Air Forces, disappeared over the English Channel while en route to Paris. American forces invaded Mindoro Island in the Philippines.

In 1948, former State Department official Alger Hiss was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on charges of perjury. (He was convicted in 1950.)

In 1961, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death by an Israeli court.

In 1964, Canada's House of Commons approved dropping the "Red Ensign" flag in favor of a new design.

In 1965, two U.S. manned spacecraft, Gemini 6A and Gemini 7, maneuvered to within 10 feet of each other while in orbit.

In 1979, the deposed Shah of Iran left the United States for Panama, the same day the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, issued a provisional order for Iran to release all its American hostages.

Ten years ago: With President Bill Clinton's close mediation, Syria reopened peace talks with Israel in Washington.

Five years ago: Time Warner Inc. agreed to pay over $500 million to resolve federal securities fraud and accounting investigations of its America Online unit. U.S. telecommunications giants Sprint Corp. and Nextel Communications Inc. announced they would merge in a $35 billion deal. Pauline Gore, mother of former Vice President Al Gore, died in Carthage, Tenn.; she was 92.

One year ago: President George W. Bush wrapped up a whirlwind trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. President-elect Barack Obama said a review by his own lawyer showed he had no direct contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about the appointment of a Senate replacement, and that transition aides "did nothing inappropriate." Illinois lawmakers took the first steps toward removing Blagojevich, a Democrat, from office.

Today's Birthdays: Actor-comedian Tim Conway is 76. Singer Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes) is 70. Rock musician Dave Clark (The Dave Clark Five) is 67. Rock musician Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) is 63. Actor Don Johnson is 60. Actress Melanie Chartoff is 59. Movie director Julie Taymor is 57. Movie director Alex Cox is 55. Actor Justin Ross is 55. Rock musician Paul Simonon (The Clash) is 54. Political strategist Donna Brazile is 50. Country singer Doug Phelps (Brother Phelps; Kentucky Headhunters) is 49. Movie producer-director Reginald Hudlin is 48. Actress Helen Slater is 46. Actress Molly Price is 44. Actor Michael Shanks is 39. Actor Stuart Townsend is 37. Figure skater Surya Bonaly is 36. "Crowd-hyper" Kito Trawick (Ghostown DJs) is 32. Actor Adam Brody is 30. Actor George O. Gore II is 27.

Thought for Today: "Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills." _ Minna Antrim, American writer (1856-1950).