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Today in history: December 14

Quote of the day: "You can close your eyes to reality but not to memories." -- Stanislaw J. Lec, Polish author (1909-1966)
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, December 14th, the 349th day of 2004. There are 17 days left in the year.

Today's highlight in history:
On December 14th, 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon home at age 67.

On this date:
In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state.

In 1861, Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, died in London.

In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole, beating out an expedition led by Robert F. Scott.

In 1939, the Soviet Union was dropped from the League of Nations.

In 1946, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish UN headquarters in New York.

In 1962, the U.S. space probe "Mariner Two" approached Venus, transmitting information about the planet.

In 1975, six South Moluccan extremists surrendered after holding 23 hostages for 12 days on a train near the Dutch town of Beilen.

In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967.

In 1986, the experimental aircraft "Voyager," piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world.

In 2000, the Federal Trade Commission unanimously approved the $111 billion merger of America Online and Time Warner.

Ten years ago: A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking almost all of Proposition 187's bans affecting illegal immigrants in California. Former Arkansas Governor Orval E. Faubus, whose refusal to let nine black students into Little Rock's Central High School in 1957 forced President Eisenhower to send in federal troops, died at age 84.

Five years ago: Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian national, was arrested after authorities allegedly found nitroglycerin in the trunk of his car as he arrived from Canada by ferry at Port Angeles, Washington. (Ressam was convicted in April 2001 of terrorist conspiracy and eight other charges.) U.S. and German negotiators agreed to establish a $5.2 billion fund for Nazi-era slave and forced laborers. Charles M. Schulz announced he was retiring the "Peanuts" comic strip.

One year ago: A weary, disheveled Saddam Hussein was displayed on television screens worldwide, a day after his capture by American troops. A car bombing outside an Iraqi police station near Baghdad killed at least 17 people. Actress Jeanne Crain died in Santa Barbara, California, at age 78.

Today's birthdays: Jazz musician Clark Terry is 84. "60 Minutes" executive producer Don Hewitt is 82. Actor-playwright George Furth is 72. Actor Hal Williams is 66. Actress Patty Duke is 58. Pop singer Joyce Vincent-Wilson (Tony Orlando and Dawn) is 58. Entertainment executive Michael Ovitz is 58. Actress Dee Wallace Stone is 56. Rock musician Cliff Williams (AC/DC) is 55. Rock singer-musician Mike Scott (The Waterboys) is 46. Singer-musician Peter "Spider" Stacy (The Pogues) is 46. Actress Cynthia Gibb is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Brian Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 29. Actress Tammy Blanchard is 28.