On Dec. 11, 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.
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 1912, movie producer Carlo Ponti was born in Magenta, Italy.
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 1937, Italy announced it was withdrawing from the League of Nations.
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 1961, a U.S. aircraft carrier carrying Army helicopters arrived in Saigon -- the first direct American military support for South Vietnam's battle against Communist guerrillas.
In 1981, the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians at the hands of army troops. The U.N. Security Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru to be the fifth secretary-general. Muhammad Ali, 39, fought his final fight, losing by unanimous decision to Trevor Berbick in Nassau, Bahamas.
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: The United States let an intercepted shipment of North Korean missiles proceed to the Persian Gulf country of Yemen a day after the vessel was detained. 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.
Five years ago: Two car bombs in Algeria, including one targeting the U.N. refugee agency's offices, killed 37 people, 17 of them U.N. employees; Al-Qaida's self-styled North African branch claimed responsibility. The Senate Intelligence Committee took closed-door testimony from CIA Director Michael Hayden on how videotapes of terror suspect interrogations were made, then destroyed.
One year 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.
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