Today in history

  • Friday, December 16, 2016 1:30am
  • Life

Today is Friday, Dec. 16, the 351st day of 2016. There are 15 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On Dec. 16, 1991, the U.N. General Assembly rescinded its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism by a vote of 111-25.

On this date:

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

In 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place as American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped more than 300 chests of tea into Boston Harbor to protest tea taxes.

In 1809, the French Senate granted a divorce decree to Emperor Napoleon I and Empress Josephine (the dissolution was made final the following month).

In 1811, the first of the powerful New Madrid earthquakes struck the central Mississippi Valley with an estimated magnitude of 7.7.

In 1907, 16 U.S. Navy battleships, which came to be known as the “Great White Fleet,” set sail on a 14-month round-the-world voyage to demonstrate American sea power.

In 1930, golfer Bobby Jones became the first recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award honoring outstanding amateur athletes.

In 1944, the World War II Battle of the Bulge began as German forces launched a surprise attack against Allied forces through the Ardennes Forest in Belgium and Luxembourg (the Allies were eventually able to turn the Germans back).

In 1950, President Harry S. Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency in order to fight “world conquest by Communist imperialism.”

In 1956, Francis Cardinal Spellman, the Archbishop of New York, personally denounced the about-to-be released movie “Baby Doll” starring Carroll Baker, saying Catholics would be committing a sin if they saw it.

In 1960, 134 people were killed when a United Air Lines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collided over New York City.

In 1976, the government halted its swine flu vaccination program following reports of paralysis apparently linked to the vaccine.

In 1985, at services in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, offered condolences to families of 248 soldiers killed in the crash of a chartered plane in Newfoundland.

Ten years ago: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for early elections to end his violent standoff with Hamas. Ten players, including NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony, were ejected for fighting during a wild brawl near the end of a game between the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks. (Denver won, 123-100.) Terrell Owens spat in the face of Atlanta cornerback DeAngelo Hall during the Cowboys’ 38-28 victory over the Falcons. (Owens was fined $35,000 by the NFL.) Time magazine named everyone using or creating content on the World Wide Web its “Person of the Year.”

Five years ago: Former Penn State graduate assistant Mike McQueary testified that he believed he saw ex-assistant coach Jerry Sandusky molesting a boy and that he fully conveyed what he had seen to two Penn State administrators; a judge sent the cases of Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, accused of lying to a grand jury, to trial. (The perjury charges were dismissed by a Pennsylvania appeals court in Jan. 2016.) An investigative report showed that thousands of children suffered sexual abuse in Dutch Roman Catholic institutions over the previous 65 years, and that church officials failed to adequately address the abuse or help the victims. In San Francisco, eight years of being investigated for steroid allegations ended for home run king Barry Bonds with a 30-day sentence to be served at home. (Bonds never served the sentence; his conviction for obstruction of justice was overturned.) British actor Nicol Williamson, 75, died in Amsterdam.

One year ago: The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, lifting its key rate by a quarter-point to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent. The first attempt to find a Baltimore police officer criminally responsible for Freddie Gray’s death from a broken neck in a police van ended with a hung jury and a mistrial in the case of William Porter.

Today’s birthdays:

Civil rights attorney Morris Dees is 80. Actress Joyce Bulifant is 79. Actress Liv Ullmann is 78. CBS news correspondent Lesley Stahl is 75. TV producer Steven Bochco is 73. Former Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons is 72. Pop musician Tony Hicks (The Hollies) is 71. Pop singer Benny Andersson (ABBA) is 70. Actor Ben Cross is 69. Rock singer-musician Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) is 67. Rock musician Bill Bateman (The Blasters) is 65. Actor Xander Berkeley is 61. Actress Alison LaPlaca is 57. Actor Sam Robards is 55. Actor Jon Tenney is 55. Actor Benjamin Bratt is 53. Country singer-songwriter Jeff Carson is 53. Actor-comedian JB Smoove is 51. Actress Miranda Otto is 49. Actor Daniel Cosgrove is 46. Rhythm-and-blues singer Michael McCary is 45. Actor Jonathan Scarfe is 41. Actress Krysten Ritter is 35. Actress Zoe Jarman is 34. Country musician Chris Scruggs is 34. Actor Theo James is 32. Actress Amanda Setton is 31. Rock musician Dave Rublin (American Authors) is 30. Actress Hallee Hirsh is 29. Actress Anna Popplewell is 28. Actor Stephan James is 23.

Thought for today: “Somewhere in the world there is an epigram for every dilemma.” — Hendrik Willem Van Loon, Dutch-born journalist and lecturer (1882-1944).

Associated Press

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