Today in History

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Posted: Dec 15, 2011 12:02 AM
Today in History

Today is Thursday, Dec. 15, the 349th day of 2011. There are 16 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 15, 1961, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death by an Israeli court for crimes against humanity. (Eichmann was hanged 5 1/2 months later.)

On this date:

In 1791, the Bill of Rights went into effect following ratification by Virginia.

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

In 1911, jazz musician, composer and bandleader Stan Kenton was born in Wichita, Kan.

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

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

In 1971, the Secret Service appointed its first five female special agents.

In 1989, a popular uprising began in Romania that resulted in the downfall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES'-koo).

In 1991, an Egyptian-registered ferry, the Salem Express, hit a reef and sank in the Red Sea; at least 470 people died, although some estimates are much higher.

Ten years ago: With a crash and a large dust cloud, a 50-foot tall section of steel _ the last standing piece of the World Trade Center's facade _ was brought down in New York. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, was reopened to the public after a $27 million realignment that had dragged on for over a decade. Evander Holyfield was denied a fifth heavyweight championship when his third fight against John Ruiz was called a draw after 12 rounds in Mashantucket, Conn.

Five years ago: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld bid farewell to the Pentagon in a splashy sendoff featuring lavish praise from President George W. Bush. Gov. Jeb Bush suspended Florida executions two days after the prolonged death of a condemned inmate because the needles had been wrongly inserted. (Florida's moratorium was lifted in July 2007.) In San Francisco, a federal judge declared California's lethal-injection procedure unconstitutional.

One year ago: The U.N. Security Council gave a unanimous vote of confidence to the government of Iraq by lifting 19-year-old sanctions on weapons and civilian nuclear power. Time magazine named Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old co-founder and CEO of Facebook, its Person of the Year. Movie producer, director and writer Blake Edwards, 88, died in Santa Monica, Calif. Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Feller died in Cleveland at age 92. The New York Jets suspended assistant coach Sal Alosi indefinitely after they discovered he'd ordered five inactive players to form a wall along the sideline for a punt return, during which he tripped Miami Dolphins player Nolan Carroll.

Today's Birthdays: Actor-comedian Tim Conway is 78. Singer Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes) is 72. Rock musician Dave Clark (The Dave Clark Five) is 69. Rock musician Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) is 65. Actor Don Johnson is 62. Actress Melanie Chartoff is 61. Movie director Julie Taymor is 59. Movie director Alex Cox is 57. Actor Justin Ross is 57. Rock musician Paul Simonon (The Clash) is 56. Political strategist Donna Brazile is 52. Country singer Doug Phelps (Brother Phelps; Kentucky Headhunters) is 51. Movie producer-director Reginald Hudlin is 50. Actress Helen Slater is 48. Actress Molly Price is 46. Actor Michael Shanks is 41. Actor Stuart Townsend is 39. Figure skater Surya Bonaly is 38. "Crowd-hyper" Kito Trawick (Ghostown DJs) is 34. Actor Adam Brody is 32. Actor George O. Gore II is 29. Actress Stefania Owen (TV: "Running Wilde") is 14.

Thought for Today: "The world is moving so fast these days that the one who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it." _ Harry Emerson Fosdick, American clergyman (1878-1969).

(Above Advance for Use Thursday, Dec. 15)

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