updated 12/18/2005 12:11:00 AM ET 2005-12-18T05:11:00

Today is Sunday, Dec. 18, the 352nd day of 2005. There are 13 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 18, 1944, in a pair of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also said undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not be detained.

On this date:
In 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect.

In 1892, Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In 1915, President Wilson, widowed the year before, married Edith Bolling Galt at her Washington home.

In 1940, Adolf Hitler signed a secret directive ordering preparations for a Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. (Operation Barbarossa was launched in June 1941.)

In 1956, Japan was admitted to the United Nations.

In 1969, Britain’s Parliament abolished the death penalty for murder.

In 1971, the Rev. Jesse Jackson announced in Chicago the founding of Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity).

In 1972, the United States began its heaviest bombing of North Vietnam at that time during the Vietnam War. (The bombardment ended 12 days later.)

In 1980, former Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin died at age 76.

Ten years ago: The Dow industrials dropped 101.52 points, its biggest one-day loss in four years amid investor worries over the budget stalemate between Congress and President Clinton. A powerful fertilizer bomb was found outside an Internal Revenue Service office in Reno, Nev., but it fizzled before its lit fuse could do much damage.

Five years ago: The Electoral College cast its ballots, with President-elect Bush receiving the expected 271; Al Gore, however, received 266, one fewer than expected, because of a District of Columbia Democrat who left her ballot blank to protest the district’s lack of representation in Congress. Antitrust regulators approved the merger of British drug companies Glaxo Wellcome PLC and SmithKline Beecham PLC. Newspaper heir Randolph Apperson Hearst, the last surviving son of William Randolph Hearst, died in New York at age 85.

One year ago: The former Iraqi general known as “Chemical Ali,” Ali Hassan al-Majid, went before a judge in the first investigative hearings of former members of his regime. Former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet was hospitalized after suffering a stroke.

Today’s Birthdays: Television writer-producer Hal Kanter is 87. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark is 78. Actor Roger Smith is 73. Blues musician Lonnie Brooks is 72. Rock singer-musician Keith Richards is 62. Writer-director Alan Rudolph is 62. Movie producer-director Steven Spielberg is 59. Blues artist Ron Piazza is 58. Movie director Gillian Armstrong is 55. Movie reviewer Leonard Maltin is 55. Actor Ray Liotta is 50. Actor Brad Pitt is 42. Country singer Tracy Byrd is 39. Singer Alejandro Sanz is 37. Rapper DMX is 35. Tennis player Arantxa Sanchez Vicario is 34. DJ Lethal (Limp Bizkit) is 33. Actress Katie Holmes is 27. Singer Christina Aguilera is 25.

Thought for Today: “No one worth possessing can be quite possessed.” — Sara Teasdale, American author and poet (1884-1933).

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