Today is Friday, Dec. 5, the 339th day of 2014. There are 26 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa’s first black president and was a global symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation, died at age 95.
On this date:
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In 1776, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
In 1782, the eighth president of the United States, Martin Van Buren, was born in Kinderhook, New York; he was the first chief executive to be born after American independence.
In 1791, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in Vienna, Austria, at age 35.
In 1831, former President John Quincy Adams took his seat as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1848, President James K. Polk triggered the Gold Rush of ’49 by confirming that gold had been discovered in California.
In 1932, German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa, making it possible for him to travel to the United States.
In 1933, national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment.
In 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO under its first president, George Meany.
In 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union announced a bilateral space agreement on exchanging weather data from satellites, mapping Earth’s geomagnetic field and cooperating in the experimental relay of communications.
In 1974, the final episode of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” aired on BBC Television.
In 1984, the action comedy “Beverly Hills Cop,” starring Eddie Murphy, was released by Paramount Pictures.
In 1994, Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be the first GOP speaker of the House in four decades.
Ten years ago: Gunmen ambushed a bus carrying unarmed Iraqis to work at a U.S. ammo dump near Tikrit, killing 17. Egypt freed an Israeli Arab man convicted of spying in exchange for Israel’s release of six Egyptian students who were suspected of trying to kidnap Israeli soldiers. Carlos Moya beat Andy Roddick 6-2, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5) to clinch Spain’s second Davis Cup title.
Five years ago: A jury in Perugia, Italy convicted American student Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, of murdering Knox’s British roommate, Meredith Kercher, and sentenced them to long prison terms. (Knox has been in the United States since 2011 after an appeals court overturned her conviction, which was later reinstated; Sollecito continues to appeal his conviction; both maintain their innocence.) A nightclub blaze in Perm, Russia, killed more than 150 people. Spain won the Davis Cup for the second straight year. William A. Wilson, 95, the first American ambassador to the Vatican, died in Carmel, California.
One year ago: NBC-TV aired a live three-hour production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” starring Carrie Underwood. A handwritten, working lyric sheet for Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 hit “Born to Run” sold at Sotheby’s for $197,000, well exceeding pre-sale estimates of between $70,000 and $100,000.
Singer Little Richard is 82. Author Joan Didion is 80. Author Calvin Trillin is 79. Actor Jeroen Krabbe is 70. Opera singer Jose Carreras is 68. Pop singer Jim Messina is 67. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL quarterback Jim Plunkett is 67. World Golf Hall of Famer Lanny Wadkins is 65. Actress Morgan Brittany is 63. Actor Brian Backer is 58. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Art Monk is 57. Country singer Ty England is 51. Rock singer-musician John Rzeznik (The Goo Goo Dolls) is 49. Country singer Gary Allan is 47. Comedian-actress Margaret Cho is 46. Writer-director Morgan J. Freeman is 45. Actress Alex Kapp Horner is 45. Rock musician Regina Zernay (Cowboy Mouth) is 42. Actress Paula Patton is 39. Actress Amy Acker is 38. Actor Nick Stahl is 35. Rhythm-and-blues singer Keri Hilson is 32. Actor Frankie Muniz is 29. Actor Ross Bagley is 26.
Thought for Today:
“I’ve never been poor, only broke. Being poor is a frame of mind. Being broke is only a temporary situation.” – Mike Todd, American movie producer (1907-1958)