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Today in history: December 19

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

Today is Monday, Dec. 19, the 353rd day of 2005. There are 12 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 19, 1843, “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, was first published in England.

On this date:
In 1732, Benjamin Franklin began publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”

In 1776, Thomas Paine published his first “American Crisis” essay.

In 1907, 239 workers died in a coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pa.

In 1932, the British Broadcasting Corporation began transmitting overseas with its Empire Service to Australia.

In 1957, Meredith Willson’s musical play “The Music Man” opened on Broadway.

In 1972, Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific, winding up the Apollo program of manned lunar landings.

In 1974, Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United States.

In 1984, a fire at the Wilberg Mine near Orangeville, Utah, killed 27 people.

In 1985, in Minneapolis, Mary Lund became the first woman to receive a Jarvik VII artificial heart (Lund received a human heart transplant 45 days later; she died in October 1986).

In 1998, President Clinton was impeached by the Republican-controlled House for perjury and obstruction of justice (he was later acquitted by the Senate).

Ten years ago: The Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate, turning fears to cheers on Wall Street a day after the biggest one-day stock plunge in four years. Yigal Amir, the confessed assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, went on trial. A gunman opened fire inside a Bronx, N.Y., shoe store, killing five people.

Five years ago: President-elect Bush met with President Clinton in Washington. The U.N. Security Council voted to impose broad sanctions on Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers unless they closed “terrorist” training camps and surrender U.S. embassy bombing suspect Osama bin Laden. Death claimed jazz bassist Milt Hinton at age 90; gospel singer “Pops Staples” at age 85; former New York City mayor John V. Lindsay at age 79; and Rob Buck, lead guitarist for the rock band 10,000 Maniacs, at age 42.

One year ago: In Iraq, car bombs tore through a Najaf funeral procession and Karbala’s main bus station, killing at least 60 people and wounding more than 120 in the two Shiite holy cities. In Baghdad, three Iraqi election officials were killed execution-style by insurgents. Time magazine named President Bush its Person of the Year for the second time. Opera singer Renata Tebaldi died in San Marino at age 82.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer-songwriter Charlie Ryan is 90. Country singer Little Jimmy Dickens is 85. Composer-lyricist Robert Sherman (“Mary Poppins”) is 80. Actress Cicely Tyson is 72. Rhythm-and-blues singer-musician Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 64. Actor Tim Reid is 61. Paleontologist Richard E. Leakey is 61. Rock singer Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) is 61. Actress Elaine Joyce is 60. Musician John McEuen is 60. Singer Janie Fricke is 58. Actor Mike Lookinland is 45. Actress Jennifer Beals is 42. Actor Robert McNaughton is 39. Rock musician Kevin Shepard is 37. Actress Kristy Swanson is 36. Actress Amy Locane is 34. Actress Rosa Blasi is 33. Actress Alyssa Milano is 33. Actor Jake Gyllenhall is 25. Actress Marla Sokoloff is 25.

Thought for Today: “I never could see why people were so happy about Dickens’ ’A Christmas Carol’ because I never had any confidence that Scrooge was going to be different the next day.” — Dr. Karl Menninger, American psychiatrist (1893-1990).