Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 30, the 364th day of 2015. There is one day left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 30, 1940, California’s first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena, was officially opened.

On this date:

In 1853, the United States and Mexico signed a treaty under which the U.S. agreed to buy some 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico for $10 million in a deal known as the Gadsden Purchase.

In 1865, author Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India.

In 1905, the Franz Lehar operetta “The Merry Widow” premiered in Vienna.

In 1922, Vladimir I. Lenin proclaimed the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which lasted nearly seven decades before dissolving in Dec. 1991.

In 1936, the United Auto Workers union staged its first “sit-down” strike at the General Motors Fisher Body Plant No. 1 in Flint, Michigan. (The strike lasted until Feb. 11, 1937.)

In 1954, Olympic gold medal runner Malvin G. Whitfield became the first black recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award for amateur athletes.

In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos was inaugurated for his first term as president of the Philippines.

In 1979, Broadway composer Richard Rodgers died in New York at age 77.

In 1989, a Northwest Airlines DC-10, which had been the target of a telephoned threat, flew safely from Paris to Detroit with 22 passengers amid extra-tight security.

In 1994, a gunman walked into a pair of suburban Boston abortion clinics and opened fire, killing two employees. (John C. Salvi III was later convicted of murder; he died in prison, an apparent suicide.)

In 1999, former Beatle George Harrison fought off a knife-wielding intruder who’d broken into his mansion west of London and stabbed him in the chest. (Michael Abram was later acquitted of attempted murder by reason of insanity.)

In 2006, Iraqis awoke to news that Saddam Hussein had been hanged; victims of his three decades of autocratic rule took to the streets to celebrate.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, unhappy with Congress for not permanently extending the USA Patriot Act, signed a bill renewing the anti-terrorism law for a few weeks. Tropical Storm Zeta formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean; it was the 27th storm of a record-breaking hurricane season.

Five years ago: Republican Lisa Murkowski was officially named winner of Alaska’s U.S. Senate race following a period of legal fights and limbo that had lasted longer than the write-in campaign she waged to keep her job. Former Israel President Moshe Katsav was convicted of raping an employee when he was a Cabinet minister (he is serving a seven-year sentence). Top-ranked Connecticut’s record 90-game winning streak in women’s basketball ended when No. 9 Stanford outplayed the Huskies in a 71-59 victory at Maples Pavilion. Bobby Farrell, 61, of the pop-disco group Boney M, died while on tour in St. Petersburg, Russia. Veteran U.S. diplomat Barry Zorthian, 90, died in Washington.

One year ago: President Vladimir Putin’s chief political foe, Alexei Navalny, was convicted along with his brother, Oleg, in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia’s boldest anti-government demonstrations in years. Luise Rainer, a star of cinema’s golden era who won back-to-back Oscars but then walked away from a glittering Hollywood career, died in London at age 104.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Joseph Bologna is 81. Actor Russ Tamblyn is 81. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax is 80. Actor Jack Riley is 80. Folk singer Noel Paul Stookey is 78. TV director James Burrows is 75. Actor Fred Ward is 73. Singer-musician Michael Nesmith is 73. Actress Concetta Tomei (toh-MAY’) is 70. Singer Patti Smith is 69. Rock singer-musician Jeff Lynne is 68. TV personality Meredith Vieira is 62. Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph is 60. Actress Patricia Kalember is 59. Country singer Suzy Bogguss is 59. “Today” show co-host Matt Lauer is 58. Actress-comedian Tracey Ullman is 56. Rock musician Rob Hotchkiss is 55. Radio-TV commentator Sean Hannity is 54. Sprinter Ben Johnson is 54. Actor George Newbern is 52. Movie director Bennett Miller (Film: “Foxcatcher”) is 49. Singer Jay Kay (Jamiroquai) is 46. Rock musician Byron McMackin (Pennywise) is 46. Actress Meredith Monroe is 46. Actor Daniel Sunjata is 44. Actress Maureen Flannigan is 43. Actor Jason Behr is 42. Golfer Tiger Woods is 40. TV personality-boxer Laila Ali is 38. Actress Lucy Punch is 38. Singer-actor Tyrese Gibson is 37. Actress Eliza Dushku is 35. Rock musician Tim Lopez (Plain White T’s) is 35. Actress Kristin Kreuk is 33. Folk-rock singer-musician Wesley Schultz (The Lumineers) is 33. NBA player LeBron James is 31. Pop-rock singer Ellie Goulding (GOL’-ding) is 29. Pop-rock musician Jamie Follese (FAHL’-es-ay) (Hot Chelle (shel) Rae) is 24.

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