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Today in History

December 11, 2018

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2018. There are 20 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 11, 1972, Apollo 17′s lunar module landed on the moon with astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt aboard; they became the last two men to date to step onto the lunar surface.

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 1910, French inventor Georges Claude publicly displayed his first neon lamp, consisting of two 38-foot-long tubes, at the Paris Expo.

In 1917, British Gen. Edmund Allenby entered Jerusalem two days after his forces expelled the Ottoman Turks.

In 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.

In 1937, Italy withdrew from the League of Nations.

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

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 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation creating a $1.6 billion environmental “superfund” to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps. “Magnum P.I.,” starring Tom Selleck, premiered on CBS.

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

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

In 2001, in the first criminal indictment stemming from 9/11, federal prosecutors charged Zacarias Moussaoui, 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.)

Ten years ago: Former Nasdaq chairman Bernie 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, was acquitted of murder in her daughter’s death.) A suicide bomber killed at least 55 people near Kirkuk, Iraq. Former pinup model Bettie Page died in Los Angeles at age 85.

Five years ago: Time magazine selected Pope Francis as its Person of the Year, saying the Roman Catholic church’s new leader — the first from Latin America — had changed the perception of the 2,000-year-old institution in an extraordinary way in a short time.

One year ago: A Bangladeshi immigrant set off a crude pipe bomb in a New York City subway passageway in a botched suicide bombing; it did not fully detonate and Akayed Ullah was the only one seriously hurt. (Ullah was convicted on terrorism charges in federal court; sentencing is set for April 5, 2019.) A Southern California wildfire exploded in size again, becoming the fifth largest in state history; officials handed out masks to those who stayed behind in an exclusive community where Oprah Winfrey and other stars had homes. Chef Mario Batali stepped away from his restaurant empire and his cooking show “The Chew” as he conceded that reports of sexual misconduct “match up” to his behavior. French President Emmanuel Macron awarded millions of dollars in grants to 18 climate scientists from the U.S. and elsewhere, allowing them to relocate to France for the remainder of Donald Trump’s presidential term. The Pentagon said transgender recruits would be allowed to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1; a ban ordered by Trump had suffered a series of legal setbacks.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 88. Actress Rita Moreno is 87. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 78. Actress Donna Mills is 78. Former Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 77. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is 75. Singer Brenda Lee is 74. Actress Lynda Day George is 74. Music producer Tony Brown is 72. Actress Teri Garr is 71. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 67. Actress Bess Armstrong is 65. Singer Jermaine Jacksun is 64. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 61. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 60. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 57. Actor Ben Browder is 56. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 54. Rock musician David Schools (Hard Working Americans, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic) is 54. Actor Gary Dourdan (DOOR’-dan) is 52. Actress-comedian Mo’Nique is 51. Actor Max Martini is 49. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 45. Actor Rider Strong is 39. Actress Xosha (ZOH’-shah) Roquemore is 34. Actress Karla Souza is 32. Actress Hailee Steinfeld is 22.

Thought for Today: “It takes a long time to understand nothing.” — Edward Dahlberg, American author and critic (1900-1977).

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