Today in History
Today is Sunday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2022. There are 20 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 11, 1936, Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson; his brother, Prince Albert, became King George VI.
On this date:
In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.
In 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.
In 1946, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.
In 1972, Apollo 17’s lunar module landed on the moon with astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt aboard; they became the last two men to date to step onto the lunar surface.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation creating a $1.6 billion environmental “superfund” to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps. “Magnum P.I.,” starring Tom Selleck, premiered on CBS.
In 1997, more than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth’s greenhouse gases.
In 1998, majority Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pushed through three articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, over Democratic objections.
In 2001, in the first criminal indictment stemming from 9/11, federal prosecutors charged Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE’-uhs moo-SOW’-ee), a French citizen of Moroccan descent, with conspiring to murder thousands in the suicide hijackings. (Moussaoui pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison.)
In 2002, a congressional report found that intelligence agencies that were supposed to protect Americans from the Sept. 11 hijackers failed to do so because they were poorly organized, poorly equipped and slow to pursue clues that might have prevented the attacks.
In 2008, former Nasdaq chairman Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out the life savings of thousands of people and wrecked charities. (Madoff died in April 2021 while serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.)
In 2018, a Virginia jury called for a sentence of life in prison plus 419 years for the man who killed a woman when he rammed his car into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (James Alex Fields Jr. received that sentence in July, 2019.)
In 2020, the Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit backed by President Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory, ending a desperate attempt to get legal issues that were rejected by state and federal judges before the nation’s highest court. The Food and Drug Administration authorized an emergency rollout of the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech; the decision came as the U.S. recorded a new daily high in the number of coronavirus deaths. (Hours before the FDA action, according to two administration officials, a high-ranking White House official told the FDA’s chief that he could face firing if the vaccine was not cleared by day’s end.)
Ten years ago: The Michigan Legislature gave final approval to a pair of right-to-work bills that were quickly signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder amid angry protests by union members and their supporters. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue (TAG’-lee-uh-boo) overturned the suspensions of four New Orleans Saints players in the league’s bounty investigation but said three of the players had engaged in conduct detrimental to the league.
Five years ago: A Bangladeshi immigrant set off a crude pipe bomb in a New York City subway passageway in a botched suicide bombing; it did not fully detonate and Akayed Ullah was the only one seriously hurt. (Ullah was convicted on terrorism charges in federal court and sentenced to life in prison.) A Southern California wildfire exploded in size again, becoming the fifth largest in state history; officials handed out masks to those who stayed behind in an exclusive community where Oprah Winfrey and other stars had homes. Chef Mario Batali stepped away from his restaurant empire and his cooking show “The Chew” as he conceded that reports of sexual misconduct “match up” to his behavior. French President Emmanuel Macron awarded millions of dollars in grants to 18 climate scientists from the U.S. and elsewhere, allowing them to relocate to France for the remainder of Donald Trump’s presidential term. The Pentagon said transgender recruits would be allowed to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1; a ban ordered by Trump had suffered a series of legal setbacks.
One year ago: Anne Rice, author of best-selling gothic novels including “Interview With the Vampire,” died at 80 due to complications from a stroke. Alabama’s Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy, beating out Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson to give the Crimson Tide consecutive winners of college football’s most famous individual award. Football star and TV celebrity Michael Strahan (STRAY’-han) was among the latest to ride into space aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, sharing the trip with Laura Shepard Churchley, daughter of Alan Shepard, who was America’s first astronaut.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Rita Moreno is 91. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 82. Actor Donna Mills is 82. Former Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 81. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is 79. Singer Brenda Lee is 78. Actor Lynda Day George is 78. Music producer Tony Brown is 76. Actor Teri Garr is 75. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 71. Actor Bess Armstrong is 69. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 68. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 65. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 64. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 61. Actor Ben Browder is 60. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 58. Rock musician David Schools (Hard Working Americans, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic) is 58. Actor Gary Dourdan (DOOR’-dan) is 56. Actor-comedian Mo’Nique is 55. Actor Max Martini is 53. Rapper-actor Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) is 49. Actor Rider Strong is 43. Actor Xosha (ZOH’-shah) Roquemore is 38. Actor Karla Souza is 36. Actor Hailee Steinfeld is 26.