Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 12, 2000, George W. Bush became president-elect as a divided U.S. Supreme Court reversed a state court decision for recounts in Florida’s contested election.
On this date:
In 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In 1870, Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first Black lawmaker sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1913, authorities in Florence, Italy, announced that the “Mona Lisa,” stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911, had been recovered.
In 1917, during World War I, a train carrying some 1,000 French troops from the Italian front derailed while descending a steep hill in Modane (moh-DAN’); at least half of the soldiers were killed in France’s greatest rail disaster. Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town outside Omaha, Nebraska.
In 1974, “The Godfather, Part II,” a Paramount Pictures release, premiered in New York.
In 1977, the dance movie “Saturday Night Fever,” starring John Travolta, premiered in New York.
In 1985, 248 American soldiers and eight crew members were killed when an Arrow Air charter crashed after takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland.
In 1995, by three votes, the Senate killed a constitutional amendment giving Congress authority to outlaw flag burning and other forms of desecration against Old Glory.
In 1997, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the international terrorist known as “Carlos the Jackal,” went on trial in Paris on charges of killing two French investigators and a Lebanese national. (Ramirez was convicted and is serving a life prison sentence.)
In 2000, the Marine Corps grounded all eight of its high-tech MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft following a fiery crash in North Carolina that killed four Marines. (The Osprey program was revived by the Pentagon in 2005.)
In 2012, North Koreans danced in the streets of their capital, Pyongyang, after the regime of Kim Jong Un succeeded in firing a long-range rocket in defiance of international warnings.
In 2018, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s one-time fixer, was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes that included arranging the payment of hush money to conceal Trump’s alleged sexual affairs.
Ten years ago: An explosives-packed minibus blew up at the entrance of a joint NATO-Afghan base in southern Afghanistan, killing six American troops and two Afghan soldiers as they prepared to head out on patrol. The inflatable roof of the Minneapolis Metrodome collapsed following a snowstorm that had dumped 17 inches on the city. (The NFL was forced to shift an already rescheduled game between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants to Detroit’s Ford Field.)
Five years ago: Nearly 200 nations meeting in Paris adopted the first global pact to fight climate change, calling on the world to collectively cut and then eliminate greenhouse gas pollution but imposing no sanctions on countries that didn’t do so. Women across Saudi Arabia marked a historic milestone, both voting and running as candidates in government elections for the first time; voters elected 20 women for local government seats. Fire at a Russian home for mentally ill patients killed 23 men. Derrick Henry became the second Alabama player to receive the Heisman Trophy.
One year ago: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson led his Conservative Party to a landslide victory in a general election that was dominated by Brexit, offering Johnson a new mandate to take his country out of the European Union. Danny Aiello, the blue-collar character actor whose movies included “Moonstruck” and “Do the Right Thing,” died at the age of 86.
Today’s Birthdays: Former TV host Bob Barker is 97. Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Pettit is 88. Singer Connie Francis is 83. Singer Dionne Warwick is 80. Rock singer-musician Dickey Betts is 77. Hall of Fame race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi is 74. Actor Wings Hauser is 73. Actor Bill Nighy (ny) is 71. Actor Duane Chase (Film: “The Sound of Music”) is 70. Country singer LaCosta is 70. Gymnast-turned-actor Cathy Rigby is 68. Author Lorna Landvik is 66.
Singer-musician Sheila E. is 63. Actor Sheree J. Wilson is 62. Pop singer Daniel O’Donnell is 59. International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin is 58. Rock musician Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors) is 57. Author Sophie Kinsella is 51. News anchor Maggie Rodriguez is 51. Actor Jennifer Connelly is 50. Actor Madchen Amick is 50. Actor Regina Hall is 50. Country singer Hank Williams III is 48. Actor Mayim Bialik is 45. Model Bridget Hall is 43. Actor Lucas Hedges is 24. Actor Sky Katz is 16.