Today in History 12/11


Today is Tuesday, Dec. 11, the 346th day of 2012. There are 20 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 11, 1972, Apollo 17’s lunar module landed on the moon with astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt aboard; during three extravehicular activities (EVAs), they became the last two men to date to step onto the lunar surface.

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 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 1961, a U.S. aircraft carrier carrying Army helicopters arrived in Saigon — the first direct American military support for South Vietnam’s battle against Communist guerrillas.

• In 1997, more than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth’s greenhouse gases.

• In 2008, Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.)

Ten years ago:

• 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.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actress Rita Moreno is 81. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 72. Actress Donna Mills is 70. Singer Brenda Lee is 68. Actress Lynda Day George is 68. Actress Teri Garr is 65. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 58. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 54. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 51. Actor Max Martini is 43. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 39. Actor Rider Strong is 33. Actress Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) is 16.