Today in history

By The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Nov. 12, the 317th day of 2016. There are 49 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 12, 1936, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened as President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a telegraph key in Washington, D.C., giving the green light to traffic.

On this date:

In 1787, severe flooding struck Dublin, Ireland, as the River Liffey rose.

In 1866, Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen, the first provisional president of the Republic of China, was born.

In 1927, Josef Stalin became the undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union as Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party.

In 1942, the World War II naval Battle of Guadalcanal began. (The Allies ended up winning a major victory over Japanese forces.)

In 1946, the Walt Disney movie “Song of the South,” controversial for its treatment of the film’s black characters, had its world premiere in Atlanta.

In 1948, former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and several other World War II Japanese leaders were sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal.

In 1969, news of the My Lai Massacre in South Vietnam in March 1968 was broken by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh.

In 1977, the city of New Orleans elected its first black mayor, Ernest “Dutch” Morial, the winner of a runoff.

In 1984, space shuttle astronauts Dale Gardner and Joe Allen snared a wandering satellite in history’s first space salvage; the Palapa B2 satellite was secured in Discovery’s cargo bay for return to Earth.

In 1985, Xavier Suarez was elected Miami’s first Cuban-American mayor.

In 1996, a Saudi Boeing 747 jetliner collided shortly after takeoff from New Delhi, India, with a Kazak Ilyushin-76 cargo plane, killing 349 people.

In 2001, American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300 headed to the Dominican Republic, crashed after takeoff from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 260 people on board and five people on the ground.

Ten years ago: Hundreds of relatives and friends of victims who had died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 five years earlier dedicated a much-awaited memorial in New York. Gerald R. Ford surpassed Ronald Reagan as the longest-living U.S. president at 93 years and 121 days.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama met separately with the leaders of Russia and China on the sidelines of a Pacific Rim economic summit in his native Hawaii. Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi (behr-loos-KOH’-nee) resigned, ending a political era and setting in motion a transition aimed at bringing the country back from the brink of economic crisis. In a surprisingly sharp move, the Arab League voted to suspend Syria over the country’s bloody crackdown on protesters and stepped up calls on the army to stop killing civilians.

One year ago: President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Florent Groberg, an Army captain who shoved a suicide bomber to the ground and away from his security detail in Afghanistan. (Four people were killed in the attack; Groberg survived with severe injuries.) Twin suicide bombings killed at least 43 people in a southern Beirut suburb that was a stronghold of the militant Shiite Hezbollah group; Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Today’s Birthdays: Rhythm-and-blues singer Jimmy Hayes (Persuasions) is 73. Singer Brian Hyland is 73. Actor-playwright Wallace Shawn is 73. Rock musician Booker T. Jones (Booker T. & the MGs) is 72. Sportscaster Al Michaels is 72. Singer-songwriter Neil Young is 71. Rock musician Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser (Blue Oyster Cult) is 69. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., is 67. Country/gospel singer Barbara Fairchild is 66. Actress Megan Mullally is 58. Actor Vincent Irizarry is 57. Olympic gold medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci (koh-muh-NEECH’) is 55. Actor Sam Lloyd is 53. Rock musician David Ellefson is 52. Retired MLB All-Star Sammy Sosa is 48. Figure skater Tonya Harding is 46. Actress Rebecca Wisocky is 45. Actress Radha Mitchell is 43. Actress Lourdes Benedicto is 42. Actress Tamala Jones is 42. Actress Angela Watson is 42. Singer Tevin Campbell is 40. Actress Ashley Williams is 38. Actress Cote de Pablo is 37. Actor Ryan Gosling is 36. Contemporary Christian musician Chris Huffman is 36. Actress Anne Hathaway is 34. Pop singer Omarion is 32. Folk-rock musician Griffin Goldsmith (Dawes) is 26. Actress Macey Cruthird is 24.

Thought for Today: “You can’t be a full participant in our democracy if you don’t know our history.” — David McCullough, American historian.

By The Associated Press