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Today in History for Dec. 5, 2013

Today is Thursday, Dec. 5, the 339th day of 2013. There are 26 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight:

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.

In 1994, Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be the first GOP speaker of the House in four decades.

Ten years ago: The two makers of flu shots in the United States, Chiron and Aventis Pasteur, announced they had run out of vaccine and would not be able to meet a surge in demand. A suicide bombing on a commuter train in southern Russia killed 44 people, two days before the nation’s parliamentary elections. Six children were killed during an assault by U.S. forces on a compound in eastern Afghanistan. A federal judge in Utah threw out the case against two civic leaders accused of bribery in their efforts to bring the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City.

Five years ago: The Labor Department reported that an alarming half-million jobs had vanished in Nov. 2008 as unemployment hit a 15-year high of 6.7 percent. A judge in Las Vegas sentenced O.J. Simpson to 33 years in prison (with eligibility for parole after nine) for an armed robbery at a hotel room. Death claimed actresses Nina Foch at age 84 and Beverly Garland at age 82.

One year ago: Port clerks returned to work at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach after an eight-day strike that paralyzed the nation’s busiest shipping complex; they had won guarantees against the outsourcing of jobs. Jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck, known for his exotic and challenging rhythms in pieces such as “Take Five,” died in Norwalk, Conn., a day before he would have turned 92.

Today’s birthdays: Singer Little Richard is 81. Author Joan Didion is 79. Author Calvin Trillin is 78. Actor Jeroen Krabbe is 69. Opera singer Jose Carreras is 67. Pop singer Jim Messina is 66. College Football Hall of Famer Jim Plunkett is 66. World Golf Hall of Famer Lanny Wadkins is 64. Actress Morgan Brittany is 62. Actor Brian Backer is 57. Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Monk is 56. Country singer Ty England is 50. Rock singer-musician John Rzeznik (The Goo Goo Dolls) is 48. Country singer Gary Allan is 46. Comedian-actress Margaret Cho is 45. Writer-director Morgan J. Freeman is 44. Actress Alex Kapp Horner is 44. Rock musician Regina Zernay (Cowboy Mouth) is 41. Actress Paula Patton is 38. Actress Amy Acker is 37. Actor Nick Stahl is 34. Rhythm-and-blues singer Keri Hilson is 31. Actor Frankie Muniz is 28. Actor Ross Bagley is 25.

Thought for today: “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” — Walt Disney (born this date in 1901, died 1966).

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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