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, 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 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.
Ten years ago: U.S. health officials reported an early flu outbreak had hit all 50 states and was widespread in 24. A new second home for the National Air and Space Museum opened in Chantilly, Va., some 28 miles west of the original's home in Washington, D.C.
Five years ago: Former Nasdaq Chairman Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that destroyed thousands of people's life savings and wrecked charities. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.) The remains of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony were found six months after she disappeared. (Her mother, Casey Anthony, was acquitted of murder in her daughter's death.) A suicide bomber killed at least 55 people near Kirkuk, Iraq. Former Teamsters Union president Ron Carey died in New York at age 72. Former pinup model Bettie Page died in Los Angeles at age 85.
One year ago: In an act the White House called "highly provocative," North Korea used a long-range rocket to launch a satellite into orbit. The Michigan Legislature gave final approval to a contentious bill making it illegal to require non-union workers to pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services; the bill was quickly signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder amid angry protests by union members and their supporters. A Florida judge denied defense requests to end 24-hour GPS monitoring of George Zimmerman while he was out on bond in the fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue overturned the suspensions of four New Orleans Saints players in the league's bounty investigation but said their involvement in a scheme to reward hard tackles was detrimental to the league.
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