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Today in History

  • Today in History 

Today is Friday, Dec. 17, the 351st day of 2021. There are 14 days left in the year. 

  • Today's Highlight in History: 

On Dec. 17, 1944, the U.S. War Department announced it was ending its policy of excluding people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast. 

  • On this date: 

In 1777, France recognized American independence. In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned powered-airplane flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.
In 1933, in the inaugural NFL championship football game, the Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants, 23-21, at Wrigley Field. 
In 1969, the U.S. Air Force closed its Project "Blue Book" by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.
In 1975, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was sentenced in Sacramento, California, to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald R. Ford. (She was paroled in Aug. 2009.) 
In 1979, Arthur McDuffie, a Black insurance executive, was fatally injured after leading police on a chase with his motorcycle in Miami. (Four white police officers accused of beating McDuffie were later acquitted, sparking riots.) 
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (muhl-ROO'-nee) and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari (sah-LEE'-nuhs deh gohr-TAHR'-ee) signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in separate ceremonies. (After President Donald Trump demanded a new deal, the three countries signed a replacement agreement in 2018.) 
In 2000, President-elect George W. Bush named Stanford professor Condoleezza Rice his national security adviser and Alberto Gonzales to the White House counsel's job, the same day Bush was named Time magazine's Person of the Year.
In 2001, Marines raised the Stars and Stripes over the long-abandoned American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. 
In 2007, Iran received its first nuclear fuel from Russia, paving the way for the startup of its reactor.
In 2014, the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations, sweeping away one of the last vestiges of the Cold War. 
In 2018, a report from the Senate intelligence committee found that Russia's political disinformation campaign on U.S. social media was more far-reaching than originally thought, with troll farms working to discourage Black voters and "blur the lines between reality and fiction" to help elect Donald Trump.

  • Ten years ago: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died after more than a decade of iron rule; he was 69, according to official records, but some reports indicated he was 70. 
  • Five years ago: President-elect Donald Trump said he intended to nominate Mick Mulvaney, a conservative Republican congressman from South Carolina, to be the White House budget director. Dr. Henry Heimlich (HYM'-lihk), the surgeon who created the life-saving Heimlich maneuver for choking victims, died in Cincinnati at age 96.
  • One year ago: A government advisory panel endorsed a second COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for the shot from Moderna and the National Institutes of Health to be added to the U.S. vaccination campaign. California reported 52,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day – equal to what the entire country had been averaging two months earlier – as the state emerged as the latest epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for COVID-19 following a week in which he met with numerous European leaders. Federal authorities expressed increased alarm about a long-undetected intrusion into U.S. and other computer systems that officials suspected were carried out by Russian hackers. Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected allegations that the Kremlin was behind the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and accused U.S. intelligence agencies of fomenting the claims.
  • Today's Birthdays: Actor Armin Mueller-Stahl is 91. Pope Francis is 85. Singer-actor Tommy Steele is 85. Actor Bernard Hill is 77. Actor Ernie Hudson is 76. Comedian-actor Eugene Levy is 75. Actor Marilyn Hassett is 74. Actor Wes Studi is 74. Pop musician Jim Bonfanti (The Raspberries) is 73. Actor Joel Brooks is 72. Rock singer Paul Rodgers is 72. R&B singer Wanda Hutchinson Vaughn (The Emotions) is 70. Actor Bill Pullman is 68. Actor Barry Livingston is 68. Country singer Sharon White is 68. Producer-director-writer Peter Farrelly is 65. Rock musician Mike Mills (R.E.M.) is 63. Pop singer Sarah Dallin (Bananarama) is 60. Country singer Tracy Byrd is 55. Country musician Duane Propes is 55. Actor Laurie Holden is 52. DJ Homicide (Sugar Ray) is 51. Actor Sean Patrick Thomas is 51. Actor Claire Forlani is 50. Pop-rock musician Eddie Fisher (OneRepublic) is 48. Actor Sarah Paulson is 47. Actor Marissa Ribisi is 47. Actor Giovanni Ribisi is 47. Actor Milla Jovovich (YO'-vuh-vich) is 46. Singer Bree Sharp is 46. Singer-songwriter Ben Goldwasser (MGMT) is 39. Rock singer Mikky Ekko is 38. Actor Shannon Woodward is 37. Actor Emma Bell is 35. Actor Vanessa Zima is 35. Rock musician Taylor York (Paramore) is 32. Actor Graham Rogers is 31. Actor-singer Nat Wolff is 27.