updated 12/29/2004 4:04:08 AM ET 2004-12-29T09:04:08

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 29, the 364th day of 2004. There are two days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:
On Dec. 29, 1845, Texas was admitted as the 28th state.

On this date:
In 1170, Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in England.

In 1808, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, was born in Raleigh, N.C.

In 1813, the British burned Buffalo, N.Y., during the War of 1812.

In 1851, the first American Young Men’s Christian Association was organized, in Boston.

In 1890, the Wounded Knee massacre took place in South Dakota as some 300 Sioux Indians were killed by U.S. troops sent to disarm them.

In 1934, Japan renounced the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930.

In 1940, during World War II, Germany began dropping incendiary bombs on London.

In 1957, singers Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were married in Las Vegas.

In 1975, a bomb exploded in the main terminal of New York’s LaGuardia Airport, killing 11 people.

In 1989, playwright Vaclav Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia by the country’s Federal Assembly, becoming the first non-Communist to attain the post in more than four decades.

Ten years ago: U.S. officials confirmed the release of U.S. Army helicopter pilot Bobby Hall from North Korean custody (due to the time difference, it was Dec. 30 in Korea when Hall crossed the demilitarized zone to freedom).

Five years ago: The Nasdaq composite index closed above 4,000 for the first time, ending the day at 4,041.46.

One year ago: Monsignor Michael Courtney, Pope John Paul’s ambassador in Burundi, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen. Actor Earl Hindman, who’d played the mostly unseen neighbor Wilson on “Home Improvement,” died in Stamford, Conn., at age 61.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Inga Swenson is 72. ABC newscaster Tom Jarriel is 70. Actress Mary Tyler Moore is 67. Actor Jon Voight is 66. Country singer Ed Bruce is 64. Rock musician Ray Thomas is 63. Singer Marianne Faithfull is 58. Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. is 58. Actor Ted Danson is 57. Actor Jon Polito is 54. Singer-actress Yvonne Elliman is 53. Actress Patricia Clarkson is 45. Comedian Paula Poundstone is 45. Rock singer-musician Jim Reid (The Jesus and Mary Chain) is 43. Actor-comedian Mystro Clark is 38. Actor Jason Gould is 38. Actress Jennifer Ehle is 35. Rock singer-musician Glen Phillips is 34. Actor Kevin Weisman is 34. Actor Jude Law is 32. Actor Mekhi Phifer is 30. Actor Shawn Hatosy is 29. Actor Diego Luna is 25. Country singer Jessica Andrews is 21.

Quote of the day: "Ours is the age of substitutes: Instead of language we have jargon; instead of principles, slogans; and instead of genuine ideas, bright suggestions." — Eric Bentley, British-born American author and educator.

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