Today in History – Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016


Today is Tuesday, Dec. 13, the 348th day of 2016. There are 18 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 13, 1981, authorities in Poland imposed martial law in a crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. (Martial law formally ended in 1983.)

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On this date:

In 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted present-day New Zealand.

In 1769, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire received its charter.

In 1862, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside launched futile attacks against entrenched Confederate soldiers during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg; the soundly defeated Northern troops withdrew two days later.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office.

In 1928, George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” had its premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York.

In 1937, the Chinese city of Nanjing fell to Japanese forces; what followed was a massacre of war prisoners, soldiers and citizens. (China maintains as many as 300,000 people were killed; Japan says the toll was far less.)

In 1944, during World War II, the light cruiser USS Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze attack off Negros Island in the Philippines that claimed 133 lives.

In 1962, the United States launched Relay 1, a communications satellite which retransmitted television, telephone and digital signals.

In 1974, Malta became a republic. George Harrison visited the White House, where he met President Gerald R. Ford.

In 1994, an American Eagle commuter plane crashed short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, killing 15 of the 20 people on board.

In 1996, the U.N. Security Council chose Kofi Annan (KOH’-fee AN’-nan) of Ghana to become the world body’s seventh secretary-general.

In 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush held high-level talks at the Pentagon, after which he said he would “not be rushed” into a decision on a strategy change for Iraq. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., underwent emergency surgery after suffering bleeding in his brain. (Johnson later resumed his Senate duties.) Lamar Hunt, 74, the owner of football’s Kansas City Chiefs who coined the term “Super Bowl,” died in Dallas.

Five years ago: Early sound recordings by Alexander Graham Bell that were packed away at the Smithsonian Institution for more than a century were played publicly for the first time using new technology that read the sound with light and a 3D camera. (In one recording, a man recites part of Hamlet’s Soliloquy; on another, a voice recites the numbers 1 through 6.) In the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, ex-assistant coach Jerry Sandusky waived a preliminary hearing on the charges, which he denied. (Sandusky was later convicted of abusing several boys, some on campus.) In Liege, Belgium, six people were killed when a 33-year-old man threw grenades and fired on a crowd of people in the city’s main square before committing suicide. In Florence, Italy, a man opened fire in an outdoor market, killing two vendors from Senegal, then critically wounding three other Senegalese immigrants before killing himself.

One year ago: Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front collapsed in French regional elections, failing to take a single region after dominating the first round of voting. A bomb in a market killed at least 22 Shiites in Pakistan’s Kurram tribal region. Pope Francis called on humanity not to let sadness prevail because of the many forms of violence afflicting the world.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz is 96. Actor-comedian Dick Van Dyke is 91. Actor Christopher Plummer is 87. Country singer Buck White is 86. Music/film producer Lou Adler is 83. Singer John Davidson is 75. Actress Kathy Garver (TV: “Family Affair”) is 71. Singer Ted Nugent is 68. Rock musician Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is 68. Country musician Ron Getman is 68. Actor Robert Lindsay is 67. Country singer-musician Randy Owen is 67. Actress Wendie Malick is 66. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is 66. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is 63. Country singer John Anderson is 62. Singer-songwriter Steve Forbert is 62. Singer-actor Morris Day is 60. Actor Steve Buscemi (boo-SEH’-mee) is 59. Actor Johnny Whitaker (TV: “Family Affair”) is 57. Rock musician John Munson (Semisonic; Twilight Hours) is 54. Actress-reality TV star NeNe Leakes is 50. Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx is 49. Actor Bart Johnson is 46. Actor Jeffrey Pierce is 45. TV personality Debbie Matenopoulos is 42. Rock singer-musician Thomas Delonge is 41. Actor James Kyson Lee is 41. Actress Chelsea Hertford is 35. Rock singer Amy Lee (Evanescence) is 35. Actor Michael Socha is 29. Neo-soul musician Wesley Watkins (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) is 29. Country singer Taylor Swift is 27. Actress Maisy Stella is 13.

Thought for Today: “My theory is to enjoy life, but the practice is against it.” — Charles Lamb, English essayist (1775-1834).

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