Today in history


Today is Friday, Dec. 30, the 365th day of 2016. There is one day left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 30, 1916, Grigory Rasputin, the so-called “Mad Monk” who wielded considerable influence with Czar Nicholas II, was killed by a group of Russian noblemen in St. Petersburg.

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

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.)

Ten years ago: Iraqis awoke to news that Saddam Hussein had been hanged earlier that morning; victims of his three decades of autocratic rule took to the streets to celebrate. A state funeral service was held in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda for former President Gerald R. Ford. More than 8,500 James Brown fans filled an arena in Augusta, Georgia, for a final, joyful farewell to the “Godfather of Soul.” Gerald “Wash” Washington, the first black mayor-elect of Westlake, Louisiana, was found shot to death in a parking lot; authorities ruled his death a suicide, a conclusion disputed by his family.

Five years ago: North Korea warned the world there would be no softening of its position toward South Korea’s government following Kim Jong Il’s death as Pyongyang strengthened his son and heir’s authority with a new title: “Great Leader.” Russell Brand announced that he and Katy Perry were divorcing after 14 months of what appeared to be a storybook marriage. British cartoonist Ronald Searle, 91, died in Draguignan, France.

One year ago: Bill Cosby was charged with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004; it was the first criminal case brought against the comedian out of the torrent of allegations that destroyed his good-guy image as “America’s Dad.”

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Joseph Bologna is 82. Actor Russ Tamblyn is 82. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax is 81. Folk singer Noel Paul Stookey is 79. TV director James Burrows is 76. Actor Fred Ward is 74. Singer-musician Michael Nesmith is 74. Actress Concetta Tomei (toh-MAY’) is 71. Singer Patti Smith is 70. Rock singer-musician Jeff Lynne is 69. TV personality Meredith Vieira is 63. Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph is 61. Actress Patricia Kalember is 60. Country singer Suzy Bogguss is 60. “Today” show co-host Matt Lauer is 59. Actress-comedian Tracey Ullman is 57. Rock musician Rob Hotchkiss is 56. Radio-TV commentator Sean Hannity is 55. Sprinter Ben Johnson is 55. Actor George Newbern is 53. Movie director Bennett Miller is 50. Singer Jay Kay (Jamiroquai) is 47. Rock musician Byron McMackin (Pennywise) is 47. Actress Meredith Monroe is 47. Actor Daniel Sunjata is 45. Actress Maureen Flannigan is 44. Actor Jason Behr is 43. Golfer Tiger Woods is 41. TV personality-boxer Laila Ali is 39. Actress Lucy Punch is 39. Singer-actor Tyrese Gibson is 38. Actress Eliza Dushku is 36. Rock musician Tim Lopez (Plain White T’s) is 36. Actress Kristin Kreuk is 34. Folk-rock singer-musician Wesley Schultz (The Lumineers) is 34. NBA player LeBron James is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Andra Day is 32. Pop-rock singer Ellie Goulding (GOL’-ding) is 30. Actress Caity Lotz (TV: “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”) is 30. Pop-rock musician Jamie Follese (FAHL’-es-ay) (Hot Chelle (shel) Rae) is 25.

Thought for Today: “Addresses are given to us to conceal our whereabouts.” — H.H. Munro (“Saki”), British author (1870-1916).

The Associated Press

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