In 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In 1937, Japanese aircraft sank the U.S. gunboat Panay on China's Yangtze River. (Japan apologized, and paid $2.2 million in reparations.) Japan was at war with China at the time.
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 sentence.)
In 1997, a defiant North Korea said it would immediately reactivate a nuclear power plant that U.S. officials suspected was being used to develop weapons.
In 2006, A suicide bomber struck a crowd of mostly poor Shiites in Baghdad, killing some five dozen people and wounding more than 200. A two-day conference questioning the existence of the Nazi Holocaust ended in Tehran. Actor Peter Boyle died in New York at age 71.
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 2002, President Bush publicly rebuked Senate Republican leader Trent Lott for his statement that appeared to embrace half-century-old segregationist politics, calling it "offensive" and "wrong."
In 1985, 248 American soldiers and eight crew members were killed when an Arrow Air charter crashed after takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland.
In 2000, a divided U.S. Supreme Court reversed a state court decision for recounts in Florida's contested election, transforming George W. Bush into the president-elect.
In 1913, authorities in Florence, Italy, announced that the "Mona Lisa," stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911, had been recovered.
Five years ago: Actor Nick Nolte pleaded no contest in Malibu, Calif., to one count of driving under the influence of drugs; he was sentenced to three years' probation.
In 1897, "The Katzenjammer Kids," the pioneering comic strip created by Rudolph Dirks, made its debut in the New York Journal.
In 1925, the first motel — the Motel Inn — opened in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
TV host Bob Barker is 84. Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch is 83. Singer Connie Francis is 69. Singer Dionne Warwick is 67. Rock singer-musician Dickey Betts is 64. Actor Wings Hauser is 60. Actor Bill Nighy is 58. Country singer LaCosta is 57. Gymnast-turned-actress Cathy Rigby is 55. Actress Sheree J. Wilson is 49. Singer-musician Sheila E. is 48. Pop singer Daniel O'Donnell is 46. Rock musician Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors) is 44. Rock musician Nicholas Dimichino (Nine Days) is 40. Actress Jennifer Connelly is 37. Actress Madchen Amick is 37. Country singer Hank Williams III is 35. Actress Mayim Bialik is 32. Model Bridget Hall is 30.
Wednesday, Dec. 12, the 346th day of 2007. There are 19 days left in the year.
compiled by Mondoreb
Source: AP - Today in History
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