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Today in History

Monday, December 5, 2011

Today is Monday, Dec. 5, the 339th day of 2011. There are 26 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 5, 1933, national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment.

On this date:

In 1776, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

In 1782, the eighth president of the United States, Martin Van Buren, was born in Kinderhook, N.Y.; he was the first chief executive to be born after American independence.

In 1791, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in Vienna, Austria, at age 35.

In 1792, George Washington was re-elected president; John Adams was re-elected vice president.

In 1831, former President John Quincy Adams took his seat as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1848, President James K. Polk triggered the Gold Rush of '49 by confirming that gold had been discovered in California.

In 1932, German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa, making it possible for him to travel to the United States.

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

In 1979, feminist Sonia Johnson was formally excommunicated by the Mormon Church because of her outspoken support for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.

In 1991, Richard Speck, who'd murdered eight student nurses in Chicago in 1966, died in prison a day short of his 50th birthday.

Ten years ago: Three Green Berets and six Afghan allies were killed by an errant U.S. bomb in Afghanistan. Afghan leaders signed a pact in Koenigswinter, Germany, to create an interim government. The space shuttle Endeavour blasted off under heavy protection on a flight to deliver a new crew to the international space station. New Zealand yachtsman Peter Blake, two-time winner of the America's Cup, was slain by Brazilian pirates on the Amazon River.

Five years ago: Robert Gates won speedy and unanimous approval from the Senate Armed Services Committee to be secretary of defense. New York became the first city in the nation to ban artery-clogging trans fats at restaurants.

One year ago: On the eve of talks with six world powers, Iran announced that it had produced its first batch of locally mined uranium ore for enrichment. The Kennedy Center Honors paid tribute to Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, Merle Haggard, Broadway composer Jerry Herman and dancer Bill T. Jones. Serbia celebrated its first Davis Cup title, becoming only the second unseeded nation to win the trophy when Viktor Troicki beat Michael Llodra 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to complete a 3-2 comeback win over France.

Today's Birthdays: Singer Little Richard is 79. Author Joan Didion is 77. Author Calvin Trillin is 76. Musician J.J. Cale is 73. Actor Jeroen Krabbe is 67. Opera singer Jose Carreras is 65. Pop singer Jim Messina is 64. College Football Hall of Famer Jim Plunkett is 64. World Golf Hall of Famer Lanny Wadkins is 62. Actress Morgan Brittany is 60. Actor Brian Backer is 55. Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Monk is 54. Country singer Ty England is 48. Rock singer-musician John Rzeznik (The Goo Goo Dolls) is 46. Country singer Gary Allan is 44. Comedian-actress Margaret Cho is 43. Writer-director Morgan J. Freeman is 42. Actress Alex Kapp Horner is 42. Rock musician Regina Zernay (Cowboy Mouth) is 39. Actress Paula Patton is 36. Actress Amy Acker is 35. Actor Nick Stahl is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Keri Hilson is 29. Actor Frankie Muniz is 26. Actor Ross Bagley is 23.

Thought for Today: "Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." -- Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788-1860).

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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