updated 12/31/2005 12:02:10 AM ET 2005-12-31T05:02:10

Today is Saturday, Dec. 31, the 365th and final day of 2005.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 31, 1879, Thomas Edison first publicly demonstrated his electric incandescent light in New Jersey.

On this date:
In 1775, the British repulsed an attack by Continental Army generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold at Quebec; Montgomery was killed.

In 1862, President Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union.

In 1877, President and Mrs. Hayes celebrated their silver anniversary (actually, a day late) by re-enacting their wedding ceremony in the White House.

In 1905, 100 years ago, Broadway composer Jule Styne was born in London.

In 1946, President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

In 1961, the Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid.

In 1974, private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.

In 1980, Canadian communications theorist Marshall McLuhan died at age 69.

In 1985, singer Rick Nelson, 45, and six other people were killed when fire broke out aboard a DC-3 that was taking the group to a New Year’s Eve performance in Dallas.

In 1986, 97 people were killed when fire broke out in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Three hotel workers later pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the blaze.)

Ten years ago: U.S. tank platoons crossed a just-completed pontoon bridge from Croatia to their peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.

Five years ago: The United States finally agreed to sign a treaty creating the world’s first permanent international war crimes tribunal, joining most other countries of the world. Former U.S. Sen. Alan Cranston died in Los Altos, Calif., at age 86. Flemenco dancer Jose Greco died in Lancaster, Pa., at age 82.

One year ago: President Bush pledged $350 million to help tsunami victims, and didn’t rule out sending even more U.S. aid to help people recover from what he called an “epic disaster.” Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych resigned, acknowledging that he had little hope of reversing the presidential election victory of his Western-leaning rival, Viktor Yushchenko.

Today’s Birthdays: Folk and blues singer Odetta is 75. Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins is 68. Actor Tim Considine (“My Three Sons”) is 65. Actress Sarah Miles is 64. Rock musician Andy Summers is 63. Actor Ben Kingsley is 62. Rock musician Peter Quaife (The Kinks) is 62. Producer-director Taylor Hackford is 61. Fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg is 59. Actor Tim Matheson is 58. Pop singer Burton Cummings (The Guess Who) is 58. Singer Donna Summer is 57. Actor Joe Dallesandro is 57. Rock musician Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith) is 54. Actor James Remar is 52. Actress Bebe Neuwirth is 47. Actor Val Kilmer is 46. Singer Paul Westerberg is 46. Rock musician Ric Ivanisevich (Oleander) is 43. Rock musician Scott Ian (Anthrax) is 42. Actress Gong Li is 40. Pop singer Joe McIntyre is 33.

Thought for Today: “No one ever regarded the first of January with indifference. It is the nativity of our common Adam.” — Charles Lamb, English essayist and author (1775-1834).

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