updated 12/16/2005 12:04:57 AM ET 2005-12-16T05:04:57

Today is Friday, Dec. 16, the 350th day of 2005. There are 15 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 16, 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place as American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped more than 300 chests of tea overboard to protest tea taxes.

On this date:
In 1653, Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

In 1770, composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany.

In 1809, Napoleon Bonaparte was divorced from the Empress Josephine by an act of the French Senate.

In 1905, the entertainment trade publication Variety came out with its first weekly issue.

In 1916, Gregory Rasputin, the monk who wielded powerful influence over the Russian court, was killed by a group of noblemen.

In 1944, the World War II Battle of the Bulge began as German forces launched a surprise counterattack against Allied forces in Belgium.

In 1950, President Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency to fight “Communist imperialism.”

In 1960, 134 people were killed when a United Air Lines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collided over New York City.

In 1980, Harland Sanders, founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain, died in Shelbyville, Ky., at age 90.

In 1985, reputed organized-crime chief Paul Castellano was shot to death outside a New York City restaurant.

Ten years ago: President Clinton and congressional Republicans traded accusations as their budget impasse led to a second shutdown of the federal government.

Five years ago: President-elect Bush selected Colin Powell to become the first black secretary of state.

One year ago: Bobby Jo Stinnett, 23, of Skidmore, Mo., was found dying in her home, her unborn baby cut from her womb (Lisa Montgomery of Melvern, Kansas, is to face trial for allegedly strangling Stinnett, performing a crude Caesarean section on her and parading the infant around as her own). Britain’s highest court dealt a huge blow to the government’s anti-terrorism policy by ruling that it could not detain foreign suspects indefinitely without trial. Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein met with a lawyer for the first time since his capture a year earlier. Agnes Martin, one of the world’s foremost abstract artists, died in Taos, N.M., at age 92.

Today’s Birthdays: Author Sir Arthur C. Clarke is 88. Civil rights attorney Morris Dees is 69. Actress Joyce Bulifant is 68. Actress Liv Ullmann is 67. CBS news correspondent Lesley Stahl is 64. TV producer Steven Bochco is 62. Pop singer Benny Andersson (ABBA) is 59. Actor Ben Cross is 58. Rock singer-musician Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) is 56. Rock musician Bill Bateman (The Blasters) is 54. Actress Alison LaPlaca is 46. Actor Sam Robards is 44. Actor Jon Tenney is 44. Actor Benjamin Bratt is 42. Country singer-songwriter Jeff Carson is 42. Rhythm-and-blues singer Michael McCary is 34. Country musician Chris Scruggs is 23. Actress Hallee Hirsh is 18.

Thought for Today: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” — Arthur C. Clarke (1917- ).

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