Today is Tuesday, Dec. 16, the 350th day of 2014. There are 15 days left in the year. The Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, begins at sunset.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 16, 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).
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 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 1982, Environmental Protection Agency head Anne M. Gorsuch became the first Cabinet-level officer to be cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to submit documents requested by a congressional committee.
In 1991, the U.N. General Assembly rescinded its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism by a vote of 111-25.
Ten years ago: Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, of Skidmore, Missouri, was found dying in her home, her unborn baby cut from her womb. (The baby was recovered by authorities in Melvern, Kansas; Stinnett’s killer, Lisa Montgomery, was later sentenced to death). Britain’s highest court dealt a huge blow to the government’s anti-terrorism policy by ruling that it could not detain foreign suspects indefinitely without trial. Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein met with a lawyer for the first time since his capture a year earlier. Agnes Martin, one of the world’s foremost abstract artists, died in Taos, New Mexico, at age 92.
Five years ago: Two hundred Mexican Marines raided an upscale apartment complex and killed drug cartel chief Arturo Beltran Leyva in a two-hour gunbattle. Iran test-fired a missile capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe. Police fired pepper spray and beat protesters with batons outside the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen. Tiger Woods was voted Athlete of the Decade by members of The Associated Press. Yegor Gaidar, 53, who oversaw Russia’s painful transition from communism to a free market economy, died in Moscow. Roy E. Disney, 79, the son and nephew of the Walt Disney Co. founders, died in Newport Beach, California.
One year ago: In the first ruling of its kind, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon declared that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records likely violated the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable search. Ray Price, 87, one of country music’s most popular and influential singers and bandleaders, died in Mount Pleasant, Texas.
Today’s Birthdays: Civil rights attorney Morris Dees is 78. Actress Joyce Bulifant is 77. Actress Liv Ullmann is 76. CBS news correspondent Lesley Stahl is 73. TV producer Steven Bochco is 71. Former Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons is 70. Pop musician Tony Hicks (The Hollies) is 69. Pop singer Benny Andersson (ABBA) is 68. Actor Ben Cross is 67. Rock singer-musician Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) is 65. Rock musician Bill Bateman (The Blasters) is 63. Actor Xander Berkeley is 59. Actress Alison LaPlaca is 55. Actor Sam Robards is 53. Actor Jon Tenney is 53. Actor Benjamin Bratt is 51. Country singer-songwriter Jeff Carson is 51. Actor-comedian JB Smoove is 49. Actor Daniel Cosgrove is 44. Rhythm-and-blues singer Michael McCary is 43. Actor Jonathan Scarfe is 39. Actress Krysten Ritter is 33. Actress Zoe Jarman (TV: “The Mindy Project”) is 32. Country musician Chris Scruggs is 32. Actress Amanda Setton is 29. Rock musician Dave Rublin (American Authors) is 28. Actress Hallee Hirsh is 27. Actress Anna Popplewell is 26.
Thought for Today: “There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his.” – Helen Keller, American author and lecturer (1880-1968).
Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.