Today is Sunday, Dec. 14, the 348th day of 2014. There are 17 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 14, 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, ruled that Congress was within its authority to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against racial discrimination by private businesses (in this case, a motel that refused to cater to blacks).
On this date:
In 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home at age 67.
In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state.
In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (ROH'-ahl AH'-mun-suhn) and his team became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating out a British expedition led by Robert F. Scott.
In 1918, "Il Trittico," a trio of one-act operas by Giacomo Puccini, premiered at New York's Metropolitan Opera House. (The third opera, "Gianni Schicchi (SKEE'-kee)," featured the aria "O Mio Babbino Caro," which was an immediate hit.)
In 1939, the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finland.
In 1946, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish the U.N.'s headquarters in New York.
In 1962, the U.S. space probe Mariner 2 passed Venus at a distance of just over 21,000 miles, transmitting information about the planet.
In 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan concluded their third and final moonwalk and blasted off for their rendezvous with the command module.
In 1974, journalist and political commentator Walter Lippmann, 85, died in New York.
In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967.
In 1989, Nobel Peace laureate Andrei D. Sakharov died in Moscow at age 68.
In 2012, a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then committed suicide as police arrived; 20-year-old Adam Lanza had fatally shot his mother at their home before carrying out the attack on the school.
Ten years ago: The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the fifth time since June 2004, raising the federal funds rate a quarter-point to 2.25 percent. President George W. Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to three figures central to his Iraq policy: former CIA Director George Tenet, former Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer and retired Gen. Tommy Franks.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama implored top bankers to help keep the fragile recovery from faltering by boosting lending to small businesses and getting behind an overhaul of financial regulation. Dubai got a $10 billion lifeline from oil-rich Abu Dhabi, securing a last-minute cash infusion aimed at preventing a default that risked sparking broader fears about the city-state's shaky finances.
One year ago: Bells tolled 26 times in Newtown, Connecticut, to honor the dead on the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook school massacre. China carried out the world's first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades as the unmanned Chang'e 3 lander touched down on the lunar surface. Jameis (cq) Winston won the Heisman Trophy, making the Florida State quarterback the second straight freshman to win the award, after Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel. Actor Peter O'Toole, 81, who'd achieved instant stardom as Lawrence of Arabia and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award without winning, died in London.
Today's Birthdays: Jazz musician Clark Terry is 94. Singer-actress Abbe Lane is 83. Actor Hal Williams is 80. Actress-singer Jane Birkin is 68. Actress Patty Duke is 68. Pop singer Joyce Vincent-Wilson (Tony Orlando and Dawn) is 68. Entertainment executive Michael Ovitz is 68. Actress Dee Wallace is 66. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ronnie McNeir (The Four Tops) is 65. Rock musician Cliff Williams (AC/DC) is 65. Actor-comedian T.K. Carter is 58. Rock singer-musician Mike Scott (The Waterboys) is 56. Singer-musician Peter "Spider" Stacy (The Pogues) is 56. Actress Cynthia Gibb is 51. Actor Archie Kao is 45. Actress Natascha McElhone is 45. Actress-comedian Michaela Watkins is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Brian Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 39. Actress KaDee Strickland is 39. Actress Tammy Blanchard is 38. Actress Sophie Monk is 35. Actress Vanessa Hudgens is 26.
Thought for Today: "Both now and for always, I intend to hold fast to my belief in the hidden strength of the human spirit." — Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989).
(Above Advance for Use Sunday, Dec. 14)
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