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Today in history: December 11

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2005. There are 20 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 11, 1936, Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.

On this date:
In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.

In 1872, America’s first black governor took office as Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback became acting governor of Louisiana.

In 1928, police in Buenos Aires thwarted an attempt on the life of President-elect Herbert Hoover.

In 1937, Italy withdrew from the League of Nations.

In 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

In 1946, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.

In 1980, President Carter signed a bill creating a $1.6 billion environmental “superfund” to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps.

In 1980, “Magnum P.I.,” starring Tom Selleck, premiered on CBS television.

In 1981, the U.N. Security Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru to be the fifth secretary-general of the world body.

In 1991, a jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., acquitted William Kennedy Smith of sexual assault and battery, rejecting the allegations of Patricia Bowman.

Ten years ago: U.S. Rep. Enid Greene Waldholtz, R-Utah, held an emotional news conference, publicly addressing the scandal surrounding her personal and campaign finances and blaming the mess on her estranged husband, Joe.

Five years ago: The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments from lawyers representing George W. Bush and Al Gore concerning the Florida presidential vote recount. Shortstop Alex Rodriguez agreed to a $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers.

One year ago: Doctors in Austria determined that Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko had been poisoned with dioxin, which caused the severe disfigurement and partial paralysis of his face. Vitali Klitschko stopped Danny Williams in the eighth round to retain his WBC heavyweight title. Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart won the 70th Heisman Trophy.

Today’s Birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn is 87. Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 75. Actress Rita Moreno is 74. Actor Ron Carey is 70. Former California state assemblyman Tom Hayden, D-Los Angeles, is 66. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 65. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 64. Actress Donna Mills is 63. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is 62. Singer Brenda Lee is 61. Actress Lynda Day George is 61. Music producer Tony Brown is 59. Actress Teri Garr is 57. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 53. Actress Bess Armstrong is 52. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 51. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 47. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 44. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 41. Rock musician David Schools (Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic) is 41. Actor Gary Dourdan (“CSI”) is 39. Actress-comedian Mo’Nique (“The Parkers”) is 37. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 32. Actor Rider Strong is 26.

Thought for Today: “The fear of life is the favorite disease of the 20th century.” — William Lyon Phelps, American educator and journalist (1865-1943).