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Today in History - Dec. 11

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

BC-History-Dec 11, Adv11,0702


For release Monday, Dec. 11

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Monday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2006. 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 1792, France’s King Louis XVI went before the Convention to face charges of treason. (Louis was convicted, and executed the following month.)

In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.

In 1882, Boston’s Bijou Theatre, the first American playhouse to be lighted exclusively by electricity, gave its first performance, of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Iolanthe.”

In 1928, police in Buenos Aires, Argentina, announced they had 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 into a law legislation creating a $1.6 billion environmental “superfund” to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps.

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: A China-organized committee of 400 Hong Kong notables elected shipping tycoon Tung Chee-hwa to be the first postcolonial leader of Hong Kong.

Five years ago: In the first criminal indictment stemming from Sept. 11, federal prosecutors charged Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, with conspiring to murder thousands in the suicide hijackings. (Moussaoui pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison.) The chairman of the militant Jewish Defense League, Irv Rubin, and an associate, Earl Krugel, were arrested on suspicion of plotting to blow up a Los Angeles mosque and the office of an Arab-American congressman. (Rubin died in November 2002, 10 days after what federal officials described as a suicide attempt in jail.) The government approved Swiss food giant Nestle SA’s $10.3 billion purchase of Ralston Purina.

One year ago: Thousands of drunken white youths, angered by reports that youths of Lebanese descent had assaulted two lifeguards, attacked police and people they believed were Arab immigrants at a beach in Sydney, Australia; young men of Arab descent retaliated in several Sydney suburbs, fighting with police and smashing cars. Explosions ripped through a major fuel depot north of London, injuring 43 people; the cause of the blasts was later found to be accidental. Paramount Pictures announced it was buying independent film studio DreamWorks SKG Inc.

Today’s Birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn is 88. Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 76. Actress Rita Moreno is 75. Actor Ron Carey is 71. Former California state lawmaker Tom Hayden is 67. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 66. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 65. Actress Donna Mills is 64. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is 63. Singer Brenda Lee is 62. Actress Lynda Day George is 62. Music producer Tony Brown is 60. Actress Teri Garr is 58. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 54. Actress Bess Armstrong is 53. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 52. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 48. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 45. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 42. Rock musician David Schools (Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic) is 42. Actor Gary Dourdan (“CSI”) is 40. Actress-comedian Mo’Nique (“The Parkers”) is 38. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 33. Actor Rider Strong is 27.

Thought for Today: “The people who think they are happy should rummage through their dreams.” — Edward Dahlberg, American author and critic (1900-1977).