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Today in history: December 30

Find out what happened ten years ago, which celebrity is celebrating a birthday, plus more
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Dec. 30, the 365th day of 2004. There is one day left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On Dec. 30, 1903, about 600 people died when fire broke out at the recently opened Iroquois Theater in Chicago.

On this date:
In 1852, future U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes married Lucy Ware Webb in Cincinnati.

In 1853, the United States bought some 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico in a deal known as the Gadsden Purchase.

In 1911, Sun Yat-sen was elected the first president of the Republic of China.

In 1922, Vladimir I. Lenin proclaimed the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

In 1936, the United Auto Workers union staged its first “sit-down” strike, at the Fisher Body Plant No. 1 in Flint, Mich.

In 1940, California’s first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena, was officially opened.

In 1944, King George II of Greece proclaimed a regency to rule his country, virtually renouncing the throne.

In 1948, the Cole Porter musical “Kiss Me, Kate” opened on Broadway.

In 1972, the United States halted its heavy bombing of North Vietnam.

In 1978, Ohio State University fired Woody Hayes as its football coach, one day after Hayes punched Clemson University player Charlie Bauman during the Gator Bowl after Bauman intercepted an Ohio State pass.

Ten years ago: U.S. Army helicopter pilot Bobby Hall walked to freedom 13 days after he was captured by North Korea in a shootdown that claimed the life of co-pilot David Hilemon. A gunman walked into a pair of suburban Boston abortion clinics and opened fire, killing two employees and wounding five other people (John C. Salvi III was later convicted of murder; he committed suicide in prison).

Five years ago: Former Beatle George Harrison fought off a knife-wielding intruder who broke into his mansion west of London and stabbed him in the chest. (Michael Abram was later acquitted of attempted murder by reason of insanity.) In Tampa, Fla., a gunman opened fire inside a hotel, killing four workers before shooting a fifth person dead as he tried to escape. (A suspect, Silvio Izquierdo-Leyva, later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life.)

One year ago: The Bush administration announced it was banning the sale of ephedra, and urged consumers to immediately stop using the herbal stimulant linked to 155 deaths and dozens of heart attacks and strokes. Author John Gregory Dunne died in New York City at age 71.

Today’s birthdays: Singer-musician Bo Diddley is 76. Actor Joseph Bologna is 70. Actor Russ Tamblyn is 70. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax is 69. Folk singer Paul Stookey is 67. TV director James Burrows is 64. Actor Fred Ward is 62. Singer-musician Michael Nesmith is 62. Singer Davy Jones is 59. Singer Patti Smith is 58. Rock singer-musician Jeff Lynne is 57. TV host Meredith Vieira is 51. Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph is 49. Actress Patricia Kalember is 48. Country singer Suzy Bogguss is 48. NBC newscaster Matt Lauer is 47. Actress-singer Tracey Ullman is 45. Rock musician Rob Hotchkiss is 44. Runner Ben Johnson is 43. Singer Jay Kay (Jamiroquai) is 35. Actress Maureen Flannigan is 32. Actor Jason Behr is 31. Golfer Tiger Woods is 29. Actress Meredith Monroe is 28. Singer Tyrese is 26. Actress Eliza Dushku is 24. Actress Kristin Kreuk is 22.

Quote of the day: "Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone." — Anonymous