TODAY IN HISTORY
Today is Friday, Dec.
11, the 346th day of 2020. There are 20 days left in the year.
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.
In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.
In 1844, the first experimental use of an inhaled anesthetic in dentistry took place as Dr. Horace Wells of Hartford, Conn., under the influence of nitrous oxide, had a colleague extract one of his teeth.
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, or UNICEF, was established.
In 1964, singer-songwriter Sam Cooke was shot to death by a motel manager in Los Angeles; he was 33.
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 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, 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 2008, former Nasdaq chairman Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibilliondollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out the life savings of thousands of people and wrecked charities. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.)
In 2018, a man sprayed gunfire near the famous Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg, killing three people and wounding 13 others; the suspect died in a shootout with police two days later. (A fourth person wounded in the attack later died.) 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. (James Alex Fields Jr. received that sentence in July 2019.)
Ten years ago: The eldest son of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, 46-year-old Mark Madoff, hanged himself in his Manhattan apartment on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama signed legislation keeping government agencies open into the following week, giving White House and congressional bargainers more time to complete deals on taxes and federal spending. Dow Chemical and DuPont announced they were merging to form a company valued at about $130 billion.
One year ago: Saudi Arabian oil company Aramco surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable public company when its shares debuted on the Saudi stock exchange; a 10% rally brought the company’s value to $1.88 trillion.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Rita Moreno is 89. Actor Donna Mills is 80. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is 77. Singer Brenda Lee is 76. Actor Lynda Day George is 76. Actor Teri Garr is 73. Actor Bess Armstrong is 67. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 66. Rock musician Nikki Sixx is 62. Actor Gary Dourdan is 54. Actor-comedian Mo’Nique is 53. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 47. Actor Hailee Steinfeld is 24.