Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 12, 2015, 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.
On this date:
In 1870, Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first Black lawmaker sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt nominated Oscar Straus to be Secretary of Commerce and Labor; Straus became the first Jewish Cabinet member.
In 1913, authorities in Florence, Italy, announced that the “Mona Lisa,” stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911, had been recovered.
In 1915, singer-actor Frank Sinatra was born Francis Albert Sinatra in Hoboken, New Jersey.
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 1939, swashbuckling actor Douglas Fairbanks died in Santa Monica, California, at age 56.
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, 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. 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 2010, 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.)
Ten years ago: President Barack Obama met at the White House with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki; afterward, the president declared that U.S. troops were leaving Iraq “with honor and with their heads held high.”
Five years ago: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed investigations into the CIA’s belief that Russia had meddled in the November election to help Donald Trump win, a claim the president-elect called “ridiculous.”
One year ago: Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in Washington for rallies to back his desperate efforts to subvert the election that he lost to Joe Biden; sporadic fights broke out between pro-Trump and anti-Trump demonstrators after sundown, and four people were taken to the hospital with stab wounds. A federal judge in Wisconsin who’d been appointed by Trump dismissed Trump’s lawsuit asking that the Republican-controlled Legislature name Trump the winner in the state; the judge said Trump’s arguments “fail as a matter of law and fact.” Charley Pride, the son of sharecroppers in Mississippi who became one of country music’s biggest stars and the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, died in Dallas at 86 from what a spokesman said were complications from COVID-19. John le Carre, the former spy whose novels defined the Cold War espionage thriller, died in England at the age of 89.
Today’s Birthdays: Former TV host Bob Barker is 98. Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Pettit is 89. Singer Connie Francis is 84. Singer Dionne Warwick is 81. Rock singer-musician Dickey Betts is 78. Hall of Fame race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi is 75. Actor Wings Hauser is 74. Actor Bill Nighy (ny) is 72. Actor Duane Chase (Film: “The Sound of Music”) is 71. Country singer LaCosta is 71. Gymnast-turned-actor Cathy Rigby is 69. Author Lorna Landvik is 67.
Singer-musician Sheila E. is 64. Actor Sheree J. Wilson is 63. Pop singer Daniel O’Donnell is 60. International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin is 59. Rock musician Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors) is 58. Author Sophie Kinsella is 52. News anchor Maggie Rodriguez is 52. Actor Jennifer Connelly is 51. Actor Madchen Amick is 51. Actor Regina Hall is 51. Country singer Hank Williams III is 49. Actor Mayim Bialik is 46. Model Bridget Hall is 44. Actor Lucas Hedges is 25. Actor Sky Katz is 17.