Today in History 12/11/19

Published 9:22 am Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2019. There are 20 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 11, 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.)

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On this date:

In 1792, France’s King Louis XVI went before the Convention to face charges of treason. (Louis was convicted and executed the following month.)

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 1917, British Gen. Edmund Allenby entered Jerusalem two days after his forces expelled the Ottoman Turks.

In 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 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

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 2004, doctors in Austria said that Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko had been poisoned with dioxin, which caused the severe disfigurement and partial paralysis of his face.

In 2008, former Nasdaq chairman Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that destroyed thousands of people’s life savings and wrecked charities. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.) The remains of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony were found six months after she disappeared. (Her mother, Casey Anthony, was acquitted of murder in her daughter’s death.)

In 2017, 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.

Ten years ago: Tiger Woods announced on his website that he was taking an indefinite leave from golf to try to save his five-year-old marriage to Elin Nordegren. (However, the couple ended up divorcing in Aug. 2010.)

Five years ago: CIA Director John Brennan, responding to a U.S. Senate torture report, acknowledged that “abhorrent tactics” were used on terror detainees but said it was “unknown and unknowable” whether the harsh treatment yielded crucial intelligence that could have been gained in any other way. An outbreak of the mumps, a highly contagious illness more typically associated with children, continued to spread throughout the National Hockey League.

One year ago: A man who had been flagged as a possible extremist 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, Virginia. (James Alex Fields Jr. received that sentence in July, 2019.) Time magazine recognized journalists, including slain Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL’ khahr-SHOHK’-jee), as its 2018 Person of the Year.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 89. Actress Rita Moreno is 88. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 79. Actress Donna Mills is 79. Former Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 78. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is 76. Gospel singer Paul Beasley is 75. Singer Brenda Lee is 75. Actress Lynda Day George is 75. Music producer Tony Brown is 73. Actress Teri Garr is 72. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 68. Actress Bess Armstrong is 66. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 65. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 62. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 61. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 58. Actor Ben Browder is 57. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 55. Rock musician David Schools (Hard Working Americans, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic) is 55. Actor Gary Dourdan is 53. Actress-comedian Mo’Nique is 52. Actor Max Martini is 50. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 46. Actor Rider Strong is 40. Actress Xosha Roquemore is 35. Actress Karla Souza is 33. Actress Hailee Steinfeld is 23.

Thought for Today: “Every man has his dignity. I’m willing to forget mine, but at my own discretion and not when someone else tells me to.” — Denis Diderot, French philosopher (1713-1784).