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Today in History

  • Today is Saturday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2021. There are 20 days left in the year. 

Today's Highlight in History: 

  • On Dec. 11, 1972, Apollo 17's lunar module landed on the moon with astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt aboard; they became the last two men to date to step onto the lunar surface. 

On this date: 

  • In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state. 
  • In 1910, French inventor Georges Claude publicly displayed his first neon lamp, consisting of two 38-foot-long tubes, at the Paris Expo.
  • 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 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 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation creating a $1.6 billion environmental "superfund" to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps. "Magnum P.I.," starring Tom Selleck, premiered on CBS.
  • In 1997, more than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth's greenhouse gases. 
  • In 1998, majority Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pushed through three articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, over Democratic objections. 
  • In 2001, in the first criminal indictment stemming from 9/11, federal prosecutors charged Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE'-uhs moo-SOW'-ee), a French citizen of Moroccan descent, with conspiring to murder thousands in the suicide hijackings. (Moussaoui pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison.) 
  • In 2002, a congressional report found that intelligence agencies that were supposed to protect Americans from the Sept. 11 hijackers failed to do so because they were poorly organized, poorly equipped and slow to pursue clues that might have prevented the attacks.
  • In 2008, former Nasdaq chairman Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out the life savings of thousands of people and wrecked charities. (Madoff died in April 2021 while serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.) 
  • In 2018, a Virginia jury called for a sentence of life in prison plus 419 years for the man who killed a woman when he rammed his car into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (James Alex Fields Jr. received that sentence in July, 2019.) 
  • Ten years ago: Former military strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega was flown from France to Panama to face additional punishment in his home country after spending more than 20 years in U.S. and French prisons for drug trafficking and money laundering. A U.N. climate conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, reached a hard-fought agreement on a far-reaching program meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change.
  • Five years ago: President-elect Donald Trump called a recent CIA assessment of Russian hacking in the U.S. election "ridiculous" and said he wasn't interested in getting daily intelligence briefings, telling "Fox News Sunday," "I get it when I need it."
  • One year ago: The Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit backed by President Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden's election victory, ending a desperate attempt to get legal issues that were rejected by state and federal judges before the nation's highest court. The Food and Drug Administration authorized an emergency rollout of the nation's first COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech; the decision came as the U.S. recorded a new daily high in the number of coronavirus deaths, at 3,309, and a new high in daily confirmed infections with more than 231,000. (Hours before the FDA action, according to two administration officials, a high-ranking White House official told the FDA's chief that he could face firing if the vaccine was not cleared by day's end.) 

Today's Birthdays: Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 91. Actor Rita Moreno is 90. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 81. Actor Donna Mills is 81. Former Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 80. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is 78. Singer Brenda Lee is 77. Actor Lynda Day George is 77. Music producer Tony Brown is 75. Actor Teri Garr is 74. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 70. Actor Bess Armstrong is 68. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 67. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 64. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 63. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 60. Actor Ben Browder is 59. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 57. Rock musician David Schools (Hard Working Americans, Gov't Mule, Widespread Panic) is 57. Actor Gary Dourdan (DOOR'-dan) is 55. Actor-comedian Mo'Nique is 54. Actor Max Martini is 52. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 48. Actor Rider Strong is 42. Actor Xosha (ZOH'-shah) Roquemore is 37. Actor Karla Souza is 35. Actor Hailee Steinfeld is 25.