Today is Saturday, Dec. 3, the 337th day of 2011. There are 28 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 3, 1911, Italian film composer Nino Rota, known for scoring works by such directors as Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti, as well as the first two "Godfather" movies, was born in Milan.
On this date:
In 1810, British forces captured Mauritius from the French, who had renamed the island nation off southeast Africa "Ile de France."
In 1818, Illinois was admitted as the 21st state.
In 1828, Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States by the Electoral College.
In 1833, Oberlin College in Ohio -- the first truly coeducational school of higher learning in the United States -- began holding classes.
In 1925, George Gershwin's Concerto in F had its world premiere at New York's Carnegie Hall, with Gershwin at the piano.
In 1947, the Tennessee Williams play "A Streetcar Named Desire" opened on Broadway.
In 1967, surgeons in Cape Town, South Africa led by Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky, who lived 18 days with the new heart. The 20th Century Limited, the famed luxury train, completed its final run from New York to Chicago.
In 1979, 11 people were killed in a crush of fans at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum, where the British rock group The Who was performing.
In 1984, thousands of people died after a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas escaped from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India.
In 1991, radicals in Lebanon released American hostage Alann Steen, who'd been held captive nearly five years.
Ten years ago: In the wake of bombings that had killed 26 Israelis, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared a war on terror. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge asked Americans to return to a high state of alert, citing threats of more terrorist attacks. Enron took steps to bolster its weak financial footing following its historic bankruptcy filing, arranging $1.5 billion in financing and slashing 4,000 jobs, or 20 percent of its work force.
Five years ago: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won re-election, defeating Manuel Rosales. Marat Safin had 16 aces in beating Jose Acasuso 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the fifth and deciding match on, giving Russia a 3-2 decision over Argentina for its second Davis Cup crown.
One year ago: During a surprise holiday-season visit to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama told cheering U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field they were succeeding in their mission fighting terrorism; however, foul weather prevented Obama from meeting with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul to address frayed relations. The Labor Department reported the U.S. unemployment rate had risen in November 2010 to 9.8 percent after three straight months at 9.6 percent.
Today's Birthdays: Singer Andy Williams is 84. Movie director Jean-Luc Godard is 81. Singer Jaye P. Morgan is 80. Actor Nicolas Coster is 78. Actress Mary Alice is 70. Rock singer Ozzy Osbourne is 63. Actress Heather Menzies is 62. Rock singer Mickey Thomas is 62. Country musician Paul Gregg (Restless Heart) is 57. Actor Steven Culp is 56. Actress Daryl Hannah is 51. Actress Julianne Moore is 51. Olympic gold medal figure skater Katarina Witt is 46. Actor Brendan Fraser is 43. Singer Montell Jordan is 43. Actor Royale Watkins is 42. Actor Bruno Campos is 38. Actress Holly Marie Combs is 38. Actress Lauren Roman is 36. Pop-rock singer Daniel Bedingfield is 32. Actress Anna Chlumsky is 31. Actor Brian Bonsall is 30. Pop/rock singer-songwriter Andy Grammer is 28. Actress Amanda Seyfried is 26. Actor Michael Angarano is 24. Actor Jake T. Austin is 17.
Thought for Today: "Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it." -- Joseph Conrad, Polish-born English novelist (born this date in 1857, died 1924).
Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.