Today in History – Saturday Dec. 5, 2015

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Today is Saturday, Dec. 5, the 339th day of 2015. There are 26 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1560 – Charles IX succeeds as King of France on death of Francis II.

1776 – The first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, is organized at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

1782 – The first American-born U.S. president, Martin Van Buren, is born in Kinderhook, New York.

1792 – Trial of France’s King Louis XVI begins; revolutionary coup takes place in Geneva; George Washington is re-elected U.S. president and John Adams as vice president.

1797 – Napoleon Bonaparte arrives in Paris to command forces for an invasion of England.

1812 – Napoleon Bonaparte leaves his troops retreating from Russia and sets out for Paris.

1848 – U.S. President James Polk triggers the Gold Rush of ’49 by confirming gold was discovered in California.

1934 – Soviet Union executes 66 people charged with plotting against the Stalin government.

1936 – Soviet Union adopts new constitution under a Supreme Council.

1955 – The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merges to form the AFL-CIO under its first president, George Meany.

1956 – British and French forces begin withdrawal from Egypt in the Suez War.

1971 – Soviet Union, at U.N. Security Council, vetoes resolution calling for cease-fire in hostilities between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.

1977 – Egypt breaks diplomatic relations with five Arab nations that were hostile to President Anwar Sadat’s peace overtures to Israel.

1989 – Israeli soldiers kill five heavily armed Arab guerrillas, who the military says crossed the border from Egypt to launch a terrorist attack commemorating anniversary of Palestinian uprising.

1991 – AP correspondent Terry Anderson, former American hostage in Lebanon, is reunited with sister Peggy Say, who worked tirelessly for his release.

1993 – A letter bomb blast injures Vienna’s mayor in his home. It is the fifth explosive sent in three days to journalists, priests and others linked to Austria’s immigrant community.

1994 – Russia seals the border of the breakaway republic of Chechnya and both the Chechen government and opposition leaders express fears of imminent Russian intervention.

1995 – Tel Aviv district court indicts Yigal Amir, the confessed assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, along with two of his suspected accomplices.

1996 – U.S. President Bill Clinton names U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright as the country’s first female secretary of state.

2000 – Lawyers for the first of two Libyans accused in the 1988 Pan Am airliner bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, launch their defense in the Netherlands.

2003 – Ivory Coast rebels back away from immediate disarmament hours after President Laurent Gbagbo announces a start date for the long-awaited plan aimed at securing peace in the West African nation.

2005 – The first witness to take the stand in the trial of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein recalls mass arrests, tortures and killings.

2011— Seeking to restore confidence in the euro, the leaders of France and Germany jointly call for changes to the European Union treaty so that countries using the euro would face automatic penalties if budget deficits ran too high.

2013 — The death of Nelson Mandela deprives the world of one of the great figures on modern history and sets the stage for days of mourning in South Africa and elsewhere and reflection about a colossus of the 20th century who projected astonishing grace, resolve and good humor.

2014 — Chinese authorities place the feared ex-security chief under formal arrest to investigate his suspected crimes, including accepting bribes, adultery and leaking the country’s secrets.

Today’s Birthdays:

George Armstrong Custer, U.S. general (1839-1876); Fritz Lang, German film director (1890-1976); Walt Disney, U.S. cartoonist-film producer (1901-1966); Werner Heisenberg, German physicist (1901-1976); Anastasio “Tachito” Somoza Debayle, Nicaraguan dictator (1925-1980); Rama IX, Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej (1927–); Little Richard, U.S. singer/pianist (1932–); Joan Didion, U.S. author (1934–).

Thought For Today:

I’ve never been poor, only broke. Being poor is a frame of mind. Being broke is only a temporary situation — Mike Todd, American movie producer (1907-1958).

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