Today is Monday, Dec. 29, the 363rd day of 2014. There are two days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 29, 1170, Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was slain in Canterbury Cathedral by knights loyal to King Henry II.
On this date:
In 1808, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In 1812, during the War of 1812, the American frigate USS Constitution engaged and severely damaged the British frigate HMS Java off Brazil. In 1845, Texas was admitted as the 28th state.
In 1890, the Wounded Knee massacre took place in South Dakota as an estimated 300 Sioux Indians were killed by U.S. troops sent to disarm them.
In 1916, Grigory Rasputin, the so-called “Mad Monk” who’d wielded great influence with Czar Nicholas II, was killed by a group of Russian noblemen in St. Petersburg.
In 1934, Japan formally renounced the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.
In 1939, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara, was released by RKO Radio Pictures.
In 1940, during World War II, Germany dropped incendiary bombs on London, setting off what came to be known as “The Second Great Fire of London.”
In 1957, singers Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were married in Las Vegas.
In 1972, Eastern Air Lines Flight 401, a Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, crashed into the Florida Everglades near Miami International Airport, killing 101 of the 176 people aboard.
In 1975, a bomb exploded in the main terminal of New York’s LaGuardia Airport, killing 11 people.
In 1989, dissident and playwright Vaclav Havel (VAHTS’-lahv HAH’-vel) assumed the presidency of Czechoslovakia.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush assembled a four-nation coalition to organize humanitarian relief for Asia and made clear the United States would help bankroll long-term rebuilding in the region leveled by a massive earthquake and tsunamis. President Bush denounced Osama bin Laden’s call to boycott the Iraqi elections, saying that the balloting would mark a crossroads for Iraq.
Five years ago: Brushing aside international appeals, China executed British drug smuggler Akmal Shaikh (AHK’-mahl shayk), who relatives said was mentally unstable and unwittingly lured into crime; it was China’s first execution of a European citizen in nearly 60 years. Mexico City enacted Latin America’s first law recognizing gay marriage and said it hoped to attract same-sex couples from around the world.
One year ago: The first of two suicide bombings that claimed the lives of 32 victims in the southern Russian city of Volgograd took place in a train station (the second blast occurred on a bus the next day).
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Dina Merrill is 91. Actress Inga Swenson is 82. ABC newscaster Tom Jarriel is 80. Actress Mary Tyler Moore is 78. Actress Barbara Steele is 77. Actor Jon Voight is 76. Country singer Ed Bruce is 75. Rock musician Ray Thomas is 73. Singer Marianne Faithfull is 68. Jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. is 68. Actor Ted Danson is 67. Actor Jon Polito is 64. Singer-actress Yvonne Elliman is 63. Actress Patricia Clarkson is 55. Comedian Paula Poundstone is 55. Rock singer-musician Jim Reid (The Jesus and Mary Chain) is 53. Actor Michael Cudlitz is 50. Rock singer Dexter Holland (The Offspring) is 49. Actor-comedian Mystro Clark is 48. Actor Jason Gould is 48. CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield is 47. Movie director Andy Wachowski is 47. Actress Jennifer Ehle is 45. Actor Patrick Fischler is 45. Rock singer-musician Glen Phillips is 44. Actor Kevin Weisman is 44. Actor Jude Law is 42. Actress Maria Dizzia (TV: “Orange is the New Black”) is 40. Actor Mekhi Phifer (mih-KY’ FY’-fuhr) is 40. Actor Shawn Hatosy is 39. Actress Katherine Moennig is 37. Actor Diego Luna is 35. Country singer Jessica Andrews is 31. Actress Jane Levy is 25.
Thought for Today: “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” – Rachel Carson, American biologist (1907-1964).
Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.