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Today in history, Dec. 11, 2013

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2013. There are 20 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight:

On Dec. 11, 1972, Apollo 17′s lunar module landed on the moon with astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt aboard; during three extravehicular activities (EVAs), they became the last two men to date to step onto the lunar surface.

On this date:

In 1792, France’s King Louis XVI went before the Convention to face charges of treason. (Louis was convicted, and executed the following month.)

In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.

In 1912, movie producer Carlo Ponti was born in Magenta, Italy.

In 1928, police in Buenos Aires announced they had thwarted an attempt on the life of President-elect Herbert Hoover.

In 1936, Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson; his brother, Prince Albert, became King George VI.

In 1937, Italy announced it was withdrawing from the League of Nations.

In 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

In 1946, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.

In 1961, a U.S. aircraft carrier carrying Army helicopters arrived in Saigon – the first direct American military support for South Vietnam’s battle against Communist guerrillas.

In 1981, the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians at the hands of army troops. The U.N. Security Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru to be the fifth secretary-general. Muhammad Ali, 39, fought his final fight, losing by unanimous decision to Trevor Berbick in Nassau, Bahamas.

In 1997, more than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth’s greenhouse gases.

In 2008, Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.)

Ten years ago: U.S. health officials reported an early flu outbreak had hit all 50 states and was widespread in 24. A German court freed a Moroccan accused of supporting the Sept. 11 al-Qaida cell in Hamburg, saying there was new evidence he did not know about the plot. A new second home for the National Air and Space Museum opened in Chantilly, Va., some 28 miles west of the original’s home in Washington, D.C.

Five years ago: Former Nasdaq chairman Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that destroyed thousands of people’s life savings and wrecked charities. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.) The remains of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony were found six months after she disappeared. (Her mother, Casey Anthony, was acquitted of murder in her daughter’s death.) A suicide bomber killed at least 55 people near Kirkuk, Iraq. Former Teamsters Union president Ron Carey died in New York at age 72. Former pinup model Bettie Page died in Los Angeles at age 85.

One year ago: In an act the White House called “highly provocative,” North Korea used a long-range rocket to launch a satellite into orbit. The Michigan Legislature gave final approval to a contentious bill making it illegal to require non-union workers to pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services; the bill was quickly signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder amid angry protests by union members and their supporters. A Florida judge denied defense requests to end 24-hour GPS monitoring of George Zimmerman while he was out on bond in the fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue overturned the suspensions of four New Orleans Saints players in the league’s bounty investigation but said their involvement in a scheme to reward hard tackles was detrimental to the league.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 83. Actress Rita Moreno is 82. Former California state lawmaker Tom Hayden is 74. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 73. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 72. Actress Donna Mills is 71. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is 70. Singer Brenda Lee is 69. Actress Lynda Day George is 69. Music producer Tony Brown is 67. Actress Teri Garr is 66. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 61. Actress Bess Armstrong is 60. Singer Jermaine Jacksun (new spelling as of 2013) is 59. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 56. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 55. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 52. Actor Ben Browder is 51. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 49. Rock musician David Schools (Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic) is 49. Actor Gary Dourdan is 47. Actress-comedian Mo’Nique (“The Parkers”) is 46. Actor Max Martini is 44. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 40. Actor Rider Strong is 34. Actress Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) is 17.

Thought for Today: “A technical objection is the first refuge of a scoundrel.” — Heywood Broun, American journalist (1888-1939).

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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