updated 12/15/2005 12:18:45 AM ET 2005-12-15T05:18:45

Today is Thursday, Dec. 15, the 349th day of 2005. There are 16 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 15, 1944, a single-engine plane carrying bandleader Glenn Miller disappeared over the English Channel while en route to Paris.

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 fracas with Indian police.

In 1916, the French defeated the Germans in the World War I battle of Verdun.

In 1938, groundbreaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington, D.C.

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

In 1944, American forces invaded Mindoro Island in the Philippines.

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 6 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 ruled that Iran should release all its American hostages.

Ten years ago: President Clinton defied a deadline for turning over a former aide’s Whitewater notes, prompting a deeply divided Senate investigative committee to vote to challenge him in federal court. (The White House agreed six days later to turn over the notes.) French rail workers voted to end a three-week strike.

Five years ago: The long-troubled Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine was closed for good. Federal regulators ordered an overhaul of California’s electricity market in a push to control skyrocketing prices and curtail supply shortages. First lady and Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed to an $8 million book deal with publisher Simon and Schuster for her White House memoirs.

One year ago: Time Warner Inc. agreed to pay more than $500 million to resolve federal securities fraud and accounting investigations of its America Online unit. American 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.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Ernest Ashworth is 77. Actor-comedian Tim Conway is 72. Singer Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes) is 66. Rock musician Dave Clark (The Dave Clark Five) is 63. Rock musician Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) is 59. Actor Don Johnson is 56. Movie director Alex Cox is 51. Actor Justin Ross is 51. Rock musician Paul Simonon (The Clash) is 50. Country singer Doug Phelps (Brother Phelps; Kentucky Headhunters) is 45. Movie director Reginald Hudlin is 44. Actress Helen Slater is 42. Actress Molly Price is 40. “Crowd-hyper” Kito Trawick (Ghostown DJs) is 28. Actor Adam Brody is 26. Actor George O. Gore II is 24.

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

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