Today is Saturday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2014. There are 18 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 13, 1944, during World War II, the light cruiser USS Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze attack off Negros Island in the Philippines that claimed 133 lives.
On this date:
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In 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted present-day New Zealand.
In 1769, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire received its charter.
In 1862, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside launched futile attacks against entrenched Confederate soldiers during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg; the soundly defeated Northern troops withdrew two days later.
In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office.
In 1928, George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” had its premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York.
In 1937, the Chinese city of Nanjing fell to Japanese forces; what followed was a massacre of war prisoners, soldiers and citizens. (China maintains as many as 300,000 people died; Japan says the toll was far less.)
In 1962, the United States launched Relay 1, a communications satellite which retransmitted television, telephone and digital signals.
In 1974, Malta became a republic. George Harrison visited the White House, where he met President Gerald Ford.
In 1981, authorities in Poland imposed martial law in a crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. (Martial law formally ended in 1983.)
In 1989, the film “Driving Miss Daisy,” starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, was put into limited release by Warner Bros.
In 1994, an American Eagle commuter plane crashed short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, killing 15 of the 20 people on board.
In 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit.
Ten years ago: A jury in Redwood City, California, recommended the death penalty for Scott Peterson for the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci. NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe resigned. A Chilean judge indicted former dictator General Augusto Pinochet on charges of kidnapping nine political dissidents and killing one of them during his 17-year military regime. (However, Pinochet never faced trial, and died in 2006 at age 91.)
Five years ago: The Senate passed, 57-35, a $1.1 trillion spending bill with increased budgets for vast areas of the federal government, including health, education, law enforcement and veterans’ programs. An attacker hurled a statuette at Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, striking him in the face and leaving the stunned 73-year-old leader with a broken nose and two broken teeth. (The attacker, Massimo Tartaglia, was later found unfit to stand trial.) Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Samuelson died in Belmont, Massachusetts, at age 94.
One year ago: North Korea’s state-run media announced the execution the day before of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle, portraying Jang Song Thaek as a morally corrupt traitor. Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian filed for divorce from Lamar Odom after four years of marriage.
Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz is 94. Actor-comedian Dick Van Dyke is 89. Actor Christopher Plummer is 85. Country singer Buck White is 84. Music/film producer Lou Adler is 81. Singer John Davidson is 73. Actress Kathy Garver (TV: “Family Affair”) is 69. Rock musician Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is 66. Country musician Ron Getman is 66. Actor Robert Lindsay is 65. Country singer-musician Randy Owen is 65. Actress Wendie Malick is 64. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is 64. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is 61. Country singer John Anderson is 60. Singer-songwriter Steve Forbert is 60. Singer-actor Morris Day is 58. Actor Steve Buscemi is 57. Actor Johnny Whitaker is 55. Rock musician John Munson (Semisonic; Twilight Hours) is 52. Actress-reality TV star NeNe Leakes is 48. Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx is 47. Actor Bart Johnson is 44. TV personality Debbie Matenopoulos is 40. Rock singer-musician Thomas Delonge is 39. Actor James Kyson Lee is 39. Actress Chelsea Hertford is 33. Rock singer Amy Lee (Evanescence) is 33. Actor Michael Socha is 27. Country singer Taylor Swift is 25. Actress Maisy Stella is 11.
Thought for Today:
“To know how to say what others only know how to think is what makes men poets or sages; and to dare to say what others only dare to think makes men martyrs or reformers – or both.” – Elizabeth Charles, British writer (1828-1896)