Today is Saturday, Dec. 15, the 350th day of 2012. There are 16 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 15, 1939, the epic Civil War movie “Gone With the Wind,” produced by David O. Selznick and starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, had its world premiere in Atlanta.
On this date:
• In 1791, the Bill of Rights went into effect following ratification by Virginia.
• In 1890, Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull and 11 other tribe members were killed in Grand River, S.D., during a confrontation with Indian police.
• In 1938, groundbreaking for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington with President Franklin D. Roosevelt taking part in the ceremony.
• In 1944, a single-engine plane carrying bandleader Glenn Miller, a major in the U.S. Army Air Forces, disappeared over the English Channel while en route to Paris. American forces invaded Mindoro Island in the Philippines.
• In 1961, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death by an Israeli court for crimes against humanity. (Eichmann was hanged 5 1/2 months later.)
• In 1962, the Vail Mountain ski resort in Colorado officially opened. Actor-director Charles Laughton died in Los Angeles at age 63.
• In 1965, two U.S. manned spacecraft, Gemini 6A and Gemini 7, maneuvered to within 10 feet of each other while in orbit.
• In 1971, the Secret Service appointed its first five female special agents.
• In 1972, Bernardo Bertolucci’s controversial film “Last Tango in Paris” had its European premiere in Rome, as well as Paris.
• In 1989, a popular uprising began in Romania that resulted in the downfall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES’-koo).
• In 1991, an Egyptian-registered ferry, the Salem Express, hit a reef and sank in the Red Sea; at least 470 people died, although some estimates are much higher.
• In 2001, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, was reopened to the public after a $27 million realignment that had dragged on for over a decade.
Ten years ago:
• Former Vice President Al Gore, who’d come agonizingly close to winning the presidency two years earlier, said in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he would not run for the White House in 2004.
• In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Japan won golf’s World Cup for the first time in 45 years.
Five years ago:
• Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf lifted a six-week-old state of emergency.
• International climate talks in Bali, Indonesia, culminated in a last-minute U.S. compromise and an agreement to adopt a blueprint for fighting global warming by 2009.
• Celine Dion concluded a five-year engagement at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
One year ago:
• The flag used by U.S. forces in Iraq was lowered in a low-key Baghdad airport ceremony marking the end of a war that had left 4,500 Americans and 110,000 Iraqis dead and cost more than $800 billion.
• The Senate, in a 86-13 vote, joined the House in psasing a massive $662 billion defense bill.
• British-born author, essayist and polemicist Christopher Hitchens, 62, died at a Houston hospital.
Actor-comedian Tim Conway is 79. Singer Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes) is 73. Rock musician Dave Clark (The Dave Clark Five) is 70. Rock musician Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) is 66. Actor Don Johnson is 63. Actress Melanie Chartoff is 62. Movie director Julie Taymor is 60. Movie director Alex Cox is 58. Actor Justin Ross is 58. Rock musician Paul Simonon (The Clash) is 57. DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile is 53. Country singer Doug Phelps (Brother Phelps; Kentucky Headhunters) is 52. Movie producer-director Reginald Hudlin is 51. Actress Helen Slater is 49. Actress Molly Price is 47. Actor Michael Shanks is 42. Actor Stuart Townsend is 40. Figure skater Surya Bonaly is 39. “Crowd-hyper” Kito Trawick (Ghostown DJs) is 35. Actor Adam Brody is 33. Actor George O. Gore II is 30. Actress Stefania Owen (TV: “Running Wilde”) is 15.