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updated 12/5/2006 12:17:21 AM ET 2006-12-05T05:17:21

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 5, 1933, national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment.

On this date:

In 1776, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

In 1782, the first native U.S. president, Martin Van Buren, was born in Kinderhook, N.Y.

In 1791, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in Vienna, Austria, at age 35.

In 1792, George Washington was re-elected president; John Adams was re-elected vice president.

In 1831, former President John Quincy Adams took his seat as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1848, President Polk triggered the Gold Rush of ’49 by confirming that gold had been discovered in California.

In 1932, German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa, making it possible for him to travel to the United States.

In 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO under its first president, George Meany.

In 1991, Richard Speck, who’d murdered eight student nurses in Chicago in 1966, died in prison a day short of his 50th birthday.

In 1994, Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be the first GOP speaker of the House in four decades.

Ten years ago: President Clinton announced the foreign policy team for his second term, including Madeleine Albright as the first female secretary of state; William Cohen as defense secretary; and Anthony Lake as CIA director.

Five years ago: Afghan leaders signed a pact in Koenigswinter, Germany, to create an interim government. Three Green Berets and six Afghan allies were killed by an errant U.S. bomb in Afghanistan. Escaped convict Clayton Lee Waagner, suspected of mailing anthrax hoax letters to abortion clinics, was captured near Cincinnati. The space shuttle Endeavour blasted off under heavy protection on a flight to deliver a new crew to the international space station. New Zealand yachtsman Peter Blake, two-time winner of the America’s Cup, was slain by Brazilian pirates on the Amazon River.

One year ago: The trial of Saddam Hussein resumed in Baghdad. French engineer Bernard Planche was kidnapped in Baghdad (he was later freed). Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denied the United States engaged in torture or lesser forms of cruel treatment against terror suspects. ABC News named Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff co-anchors of “World News Tonight,” replacing the late Peter Jennings. Edward L. Masry, the personal-injury lawyer portrayed by Albert Finney in the Oscar-winning movie “Erin Brockovich,” died in Thousand Oaks, Calif., at age 73.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Little Richard is 74. Author Joan Didion is 72. Author Calvin Trillin is 71. Musician J.J. Cale is

68. Actor Jeroen Krabbe is 62. Opera singer Jose Carreras is 60. Pop singer Jim Messina is 59. Actress Morgan Brittany is 55. Actor Brian Backer is 50. Country singer Ty England is 43. Rock singer-musician John Rzeznik (The Goo Goo Dolls) is 41. Country singer Gary Allan is 39. Comedian-actress Margaret Cho is 38. Writer-director Morgan J. Freeman is 37. Actress Amy Acker is 30. Actor Nick Stahl is 27. Actor Frankie Muniz (“Malcolm in the Middle”) is 21. Actor Ross Bagley is 18.

Thought for Today: “I’ve never been poor, only broke. Being poor is a frame of mind. Being broke is only a temporary situation.” — Mike Todd, American movie producer (1907-1958).

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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