Today in History

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Posted: Dec 11, 2011 12:02 AM
Today in History

Today is Sunday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2011. There are 20 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 11, 1936, Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson; his brother, Prince Albert, became King George VI.

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

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 (UNICEF) was established.

In 1961, a U.S. aircraft carrier carrying Army helicopters arrived in Saigon _ the first direct American military support for South Vietnam's battle against Communist guerrillas.

In 1972, Apollo 17's lunar module landed on the moon with astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt aboard; they are, to date, the last two men to step onto the lunar surface.

In 1981, the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians at the hands of army troops. The U.N. Security Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar (hah-vee-EHR' PEHR'-ehs day KWAY'-yahr) of Peru to be the fifth secretary-general. Muhammad Ali, 39, fought his final fight, losing by unanimous decision to Trevor Berbick in Nassau, Bahamas.

In 1991, a jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., acquitted William Kennedy Smith of sexual battery, rejecting the allegations of Patricia Bowman.

In 2008, Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.)

Ten years ago: In the first criminal indictment stemming from 9/11, federal prosecutors charged Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE'-uhs moo-SOW'-ee), a French citizen of Moroccan descent, with conspiring to murder thousands in the suicide hijackings. (Moussaoui pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison.) The chairman of the militant Jewish Defense League, Irv Rubin, and an associate, Earl Krugel, were arrested on suspicion of plotting to blow up a Los Angeles mosque and the office of an Arab-American congressman. (Rubin died in Nov. 2002, ten days after what federal officials described as a suicide attempt in jail; Krugel was killed by a fellow inmate in a federal prison in Nov. 2005.) The government approved Swiss food giant Nestle SA's $10.3 billion purchase of Ralston Purina.

Five years ago: In his farewell address, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (KOH'-fee AN'-nan) criticized the Bush administration's leadership on the global stage, warning that America must not sacrifice its democratic ideals while waging war against terrorism. Iran hosted a conference of Holocaust deniers from around the world. After a two-day journey, space shuttle Discovery reached the international space station for a weeklong stay.

One year ago: The eldest son of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, 46-year-old Mark Madoff, hanged himself in his Manhattan apartment on the second anniversary of his father's arrest. A U.N. conference in Cancun, Mexico, adopted a modest climate deal. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy after a season in which he played brilliantly but was also the focus of an investigation which found that his father had violated NCAA rules.

Today's Birthdays: Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Elliott Carter is 103. Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 81. Actress Rita Moreno is 80. Former California state lawmaker Tom Hayden is 72. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 71. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 70. Actress Donna Mills is 69. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is 68. Singer Brenda Lee is 67. Actress Lynda Day George is 67. Music producer Tony Brown is 65. Actress Teri Garr is 64. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 59. Actress Bess Armstrong is 58. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 57. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 54. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 53. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 50. Actor Ben Browder is 49. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 47. Rock musician David Schools (Gov't Mule, Widespread Panic) is 47. Actor Gary Dourdan (DOOR'-dan) is 45. Actress-comedian Mo'Nique ("The Parkers") is 44. Actor Max Martini is 42. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 38. Actor Rider Strong is 32. Actress Hailee Steinfeld ("True Grit") is 15.

Thought for Today: "Every man has his dignity. I'm willing to forget mine, but at my own discretion and not when someone else tells me to." _ Denis Diderot, French philosopher (1713-1784).

(Above Advance for Use Sunday, Dec. 11)

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