Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Friday, Dec. 4, the 338th day of 2015. There are 27 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 4, 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Cmdr. James A. Lovell aboard on a two-week mission. (While Gemini 7 was in orbit, its sister ship, Gemini 6A, was launched on Dec. 15 on a one-day mission; the two spacecraft were able to rendezvous within a foot of each other.)

On this date:

In 1214, Alexander II became King of Scots at age 16 upon the death of his father, William the Lion.

In 1619, a group of settlers from Bristol, England, arrived at Berkeley Hundred in present-day Charles City County, Virginia, where they held a service thanking God for their safe arrival.

In 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his Continental Army officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.

In 1816, James Monroe of Virginia was elected the fifth president of the United States.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson left Washington on a trip to France to attend the Versailles (vehr-SY’) Peace Conference.

In 1945, the Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations by a vote of 65-7.

In 1954, the first Burger King stand was opened in Miami by James McLamore and David Edgerton.

In 1977, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, ruler of the Central African Empire, crowned himself emperor in a lavish ceremony. (Bokassa was deposed in 1979; he died in 1996 at age 75.)

In 1978, San Francisco got its first female mayor as City Supervisor Dianne Feinstein (FYN’-styn) was named to replace the assassinated George Moscone (mahs-KOH’-nee).

In 1984, a five-day hijack drama began as four armed men seized a Kuwaiti airliner en route to Pakistan and forced it to land in Tehran, where the hijackers killed American passenger Charles Hegna. (A second American, William Stanford, also was killed during the siege.)

In 1991, Associated Press correspondent Terry Anderson, the longest held of the Western hostages in Lebanon, was released after nearly seven years in captivity.

In 1996, the Mars Pathfinder lifted off from Cape Canaveral and began speeding toward the red planet on a 310 million-mile odyssey. (It arrived on Mars in July 1997.)

Ten years ago: Members of the former Sept. 11 commission, appearing on the Sunday talk shows, said the U.S. was at great risk for more terrorist attacks because Congress and the White House had failed to enact several strong security measures. Show business legends Robert Redford, Tina Turner, Tony Bennett, Julie Harris and ballerina Suzanne Farrell headlined the annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. Croatia won its first Davis Cup title.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama praised a newly sealed trade deal with South Korea as a landmark agreement that promised to boost the domestic auto industry and support tens of thousands of American jobs.

One year ago: The Obama administration acknowledged that many people covered under the Affordable Care Act would face higher premiums the next year. Police waged hours-long gun battles with Islamic militants who attacked Chechnya’s capital of Grozny, leaving at least 20 people dead. Jeremy Thorpe, an influential British politician who’d helped revive the Liberal Party before his career was cut short by scandal, died in London at age 85.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian Ronnie Corbett (TV: “The Two Ronnies”) is 85. Game show host Wink Martindale is 82. Pop singer Freddy Cannon is 79. Actor-producer Max Baer Jr. is 78. Actress Gemma Jones is 73. Rock musician Bob Mosley (Moby Grape) is 73. Singer-musician Chris Hillman is 71. Musician Terry Woods (The Pogues) is 68. Rock singer Southside Johnny Lyon is 67. Actor Jeff Bridges is 66. Rock musician Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd; the Rossington Collins Band) is 64. Actress Patricia Wettig is 64. Actor Tony Todd is 61. Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 60. Country musician Brian Prout (Diamond Rio) is 60. Rock musician Bob Griffin (The BoDeans) is 56. Rock singer Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge) is 53. Actress Marisa Tomei is 51. Actress Chelsea Noble is 51. Actor-comedian Fred Armisen is 49. Rapper Jay-Z is 46. Actor Kevin Sussman is 45. Actress-model Tyra Banks is 42. Country singer Lila McCann is 34. Actress Lindsay Felton is 31. Actor Orlando Brown is 28.

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