Today is Saturday, Dec. 22, the 356th day of 2018. There are nine days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 22, 2001, Richard C. Reid, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, but was subdued by flight attendants and fellow passengers. (Reid is serving a life sentence in federal prison.)
On this date:
In 1894, French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. (Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.)
In 1917, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, who later became the first naturalized U.S. citizen to be canonized, died in Chicago at age 67.
In 1937, the first, center tube of the Lincoln Tunnel connecting New York City and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River was opened to traffic. (The second tube opened in 1945, the third in 1957.)
In 1944, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, U.S. Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe rejected a German demand for surrender, writing “Nuts!” in his official reply.
In 1968, Julie Nixon married David Eisenhower in a private ceremony in New York.
In 1977, three dozen people were killed when a 250-foot-high grain elevator at the Continental Grain Company plant in Westwego, Louisiana, exploded.
In 1984, New York City resident Bernhard Goetz shot and wounded four youths on a Manhattan subway, claiming they were about to rob him.
In 1989, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES’-koo), the last of Eastern Europe’s hard-line Communist rulers, was toppled from power in a popular uprising. Playwright Samuel Beckett died in Paris at age 83.
In 1991, the body of Marine Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, an American hostage slain by his terrorist captors, was recovered after it had been dumped along a highway in Lebanon.
In 1992, a Libyan Boeing 727 jetliner crashed after a midair collision with a MiG fighter, killing all 157 aboard the jetliner, and both crew members of the fighter jet.
In 2001, Hamid Karzai (HAH’-mihd KAHR’-zeye) was sworn in as prime minister of Afghanistan’s interim government.
In 2010, President Barack Obama signed a law allowing gays for the first time in history to serve openly in America’s military, repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Ten years ago: Five Muslim immigrants accused of scheming to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix were convicted of conspiracy in Camden, N.J. (Four were later sentenced to life in prison; one received a 33-year sentence.) Toyota projected its first operating loss in 70 years due to the global economic slowdown. The president of Guinea, Lansana Conte, died nearly a quarter of a century after seizing power in a coup; he was believed to be in his 70s.
Five years ago: Mikhail Khodorkovsky (mih-hah-EEL’ khoh-dohr-KAHV’-skee), the Russian oligarch who’d crossed President Vladimir Putin and ended up in jail for 10 years, told a press conference in Berlin that he planned to devote his life to securing the release of the country’s political prisoners. President Barack Obama and the vacationing first family temporarily skipped the beach in Hawaii to attend the Oregon State-Akron game at the Diamond Head Classic tournament in Honolulu. (Oregon State, coached by first lady Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson, lost to Akron, 83-71.)
One year ago: The wildfire that had burned its way through communities and wilderness northwest of Los Angeles became the largest blaze ever officially recorded in California; it had scorched 273,400 acres and destroyed more than 700 homes. IPhone owners from several states sued Apple for not disclosing sooner that it issued software updates deliberately slowing older-model phones so aging batteries would last longer. President Donald Trump signed the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul into law. The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea in response to its latest launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang said was capable of reaching anywhere on the U.S. mainland.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Hector Elizondo is 82. Country singer Red Steagall is 80. Former World Bank Group President Paul Wolfowitz is 75. Baseball Hall of Famer Steve Carlton is 74. Former ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer is 73. Rock singer-musician Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) is 70. Rock singer-musician Michael Bacon is 70. Baseball All-Star Steve Garvey is 70. Golfer Jan Stephenson is 67. Actress BernNadette Stanis is 65. Rapper Luther “Luke” Campbell is 58. Country singer-musician Chuck Mead is 58. Actor Ralph Fiennes (rayf fynz) is 56. Actress Lauralee Bell is 50. Country singer Lori McKenna is 50. Actress Dina Meyer is 50. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is 48. Actress Heather Donahue is 45. Actor Chris Carmack is 38. Actor Harry Ford is 36. Actor Greg Finley is 34. Actor Logan Huffman is 29. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jordin Sparks is 29. Pop singer Meghan Trainor is 25.
Thought for Today: “My mistakes are my life.” — Samuel Beckett (1906-1989).