Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Friday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2015. There are 20 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 11, 1844, the first experimental use of an inhaled anesthetic in dentistry took place as Dr. Horace Wells of Hartford, Connecticut, under the influence of nitrous oxide, had a colleague extract one of his teeth.

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 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 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 1964, Che Guevara addressed the United Nations; in his speech, the Argentine revolutionary declared that “the final hour of colonialism has struck.” Singer-songwriter Sam Cooke was shot to death by a motel manager in Los Angeles; he was 33.

In 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.

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 1994, leaders of 34 Western Hemisphere nations signed a free-trade declaration in Miami.

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: Thousands of drunken white youths, angered by reports that youths of Lebanese descent had assaulted two lifeguards, attacked police and people they believed were Arab immigrants at a beach in Sydney, Australia; young men of Arab descent retaliated in several Sydney suburbs, fighting with police and smashing cars. Explosions ripped through a major fuel depot north of London, injuring 43 people; the cause of the blasts was later found to be accidental. Paramount Pictures announced it was buying independent film studio DreamWorks SKG Inc.

Five years ago: The eldest son of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, 46-year-old Mark Madoff, hanged himself in his Manhattan apartment on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest. A U.N. conference in Cancun, Mexico, adopted a modest climate deal. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy.

One year ago: CIA Director John Brennan, responding to a U.S. Senate torture report, acknowledged that “abhorrent tactics” were used on terror detainees but said it was “unknown and unknowable” whether the harsh treatment yielded crucial intelligence that could have been gained in any other way. An outbreak of the mumps, a highly contagious illness more typically associated with children, continued to spread throughout the National Hockey League.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 85. Actress Rita Moreno is 84. Former California state lawmaker Tom Hayden is 76. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 75. Actress Donna Mills is 75. U.S. Ambassador to China, former Sen. Max Baucus, is 74. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is 72. Singer Brenda Lee is 71. Actress Lynda Day George is 71. Music producer Tony Brown is 69. Actress Teri Garr is 68. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 63. Actress Bess Armstrong is 62. Singer Jermaine Jacksun is 61. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 58. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 57. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 54. Actor Ben Browder is 53. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 51. Rock musician David Schools (Hard Working Americans, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic) is 51. Actor Gary Dourdan (DOOR’-dan) is 49. Actress-comedian Mo’Nique is 48. Actor Max Martini is 46. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 42. Actor Rider Strong is 36. Actress Xosha (ZOH’-shah) Roquemore is 31. Actress Karla Souza is 29. Actress Hailee Steinfeld is 19.

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