Today in history


Today is Monday, Dec. 19, the 354th day of 2016. There are 12 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 19, 1946, war broke out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launched widespread attacks against the French.

On this date:

In 1777, Gen. George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter.

In 1813, British forces captured Fort Niagara during the War of 1812.

In 1843, “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, was first published in England.

In 1907, 239 workers died in a coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.

In 1932, the British Broadcasting Corp. began transmitting overseas with its Empire Service to Australia.

In 1957, Meredith Willson’s musical play “The Music Man” opened on Broadway.

In 1961, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., 73, suffered a debilitating stroke while in Palm Beach, Florida.

In 1974, Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United States in the U.S. Senate chamber by Chief Justice Warren Burger with President Gerald R. Ford looking on.

In 1975, John Paul Stevens was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1986, the Soviet Union announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov (AHN’-dray SAHK’-ah-rawf) from internal exile, and pardoned his wife, Yelena Bonner. Lawrence E. Walsh was appointed independent counsel to investigate the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1996, the television industry unveiled a plan to rate programs using tags such as “TV-G” (suitable for all ages), “TV-Y” (suitable for all youngsters) and “TV-M” (for mature audiences only). Actor Marcello Mastroianni died in Paris at age 72.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican-controlled House for perjury and obstruction of justice (he was subsequently acquitted by the Senate).

Ten years ago: A Libyan court convicted five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor of deliberately infecting 400 children with HIV and sentenced them to death. (The six later had their death sentences commuted, and were transferred to Bulgaria, where they were pardoned and set free.)

Five years ago: North Korea announced the death two days earlier of leader Kim Jong Il; North Koreans marched by the thousands to mourn their “Dear Leader” while state media proclaimed his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, a “Great Successor.” Paroled American Lori Berenson, who had stirred international controversy after being convicted of aiding Peruvian guerrillas, left Lima on a flight to the United States for her first visit back home since her arrest in 1995.

One year ago: Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton debated in Manchester, New Hampshire, where they engaged in a pointed but polite discussion of national security, Americans’ heightened terrorism fears and the economy. Conductor Kurt Masur, 88, died in Greenwich, Connecticut. Spain’s Mireia Lalaguna Royo was named the winner of the Miss World 2015 competition in a Chinese island resort, an event dogged by controversy over China’s refusal to allow Canada’s entrant to attend.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Cicely Tyson is 92. Former game show contestant Herb Stempel is 90. Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is 75. Actress Elaine Joyce is 73. Actor Tim Reid is 72. Paleontologist Richard E. Leakey is 72. Musician John McEuen is 71. Singer Janie Fricke is 69. Jazz musician Lenny White is 67. Actor Mike Lookinland is 56. Actress Jennifer Beals is 53. Actor Scott Cohen is 52. Actor Robert MacNaughton is 50. Magician Criss Angel is 49. Rock musician Klaus Eichstadt (Ugly Kid Joe) is 49. Actor Ken Marino is 48. Actor Elvis Nolasco is 48. Rock musician Kevin Shepard is 48. Actor Derek Webster is 48. Actress Kristy Swanson is 47. Model Tyson Beckford is 46. Actress Amy Locane is 45. Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp is 44. Actress Rosa Blasi is 44. Actress Alyssa Milano is 44. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal (JIH’-lihn-hahl) is 36. Actress Marla Sokoloff is 36. Rapper Lady Sovereign is 31. Actor Iain de Caestecker is 29.

Thought for Today: “Serious-minded people have few ideas. People with ideas are never serious.” — Paul Valery, French poet and critic (1871-1945).

By The Associated Press

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