Today in History

Published 12:01 am Saturday, December 2, 2017

Today is Saturday, Dec. 2, the 336th day of 2017. There are 29 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 2, 1942, an artificially created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time at the University of Chicago.

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On this date:

In 1697, London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was consecrated for use even though the building was still under construction.

In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French.

In 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry the previous October. Artist Georges-Pierre Seurat was born in Paris.

In 1927, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its Model A automobile that replaced its Model T.

In 1939, New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field (later LaGuardia Airport) went into operation as an airliner from Chicago landed at one minute past midnight.

In 1954, the U.S. Senate passed, 67-22, a resolution condemning Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., saying he had “acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.”

In 1957, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first full-scale commercial nuclear facility in the U.S., began operations. (The reactor ceased operating in 1982.)

In 1967, Cardinal Francis Spellman died in New York at age 78.

In 1970, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors under its first director, William D. Ruckelshaus.

In 1982, in the first operation of its kind, doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark, who lived 112 days with the device.

In 1997, the film drama “Good Will Hunting” starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck was released by Miramax Films.

In 2015, a couple loyal to Islamic State opened fire at a holiday banquet for public employees in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others before dying in a shootout with police.

Ten years ago: Venezuela President Hugo Chavez (OO’-goh CHAH’-vez) suffered defeat as voters rejected sweeping constitutional reforms by 51 to 49 percent. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party swept 70 percent of the seats for a new parliament in a vote whose fairness was called into question by European election monitors. Brian Wilson, Martin Scorsese, Steve Martin, Diana Ross and pianist Leon Fleisher received Kennedy Center honors for their career achievements.

Five years ago: Hundreds of concrete slabs, each weighing more than a ton, fell from the roof of a highway tunnel west of Tokyo, crushing vehicles below and killing nine people. Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Led Zeppelin, Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy and ballerina Natalia Makarova received Kennedy Center Honors.

One year ago: Thirty-six people died when fire erupted in an illegally converted warehouse in Oakland, California, during a dance party (two men have pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter). President-elect Donald Trump spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (tsy ying-WEN’) in a highly unusual move that was bound to antagonize China.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III is 86. Former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is 78. Actress Cathy Lee Crosby is 73. Movie director Penelope Spheeris is 72. Actor Ron Raines is 68. Country singer John Wesley Ryles is 67. Actor Keith Szarabajka is 65. Actor Dan Butler is 63. Broadcast journalist Stone Phillips is 63. Actor Dennis Christopher is 62. Actor Steven Bauer is 61. Country singer Joe Henry is 57. Rock musician Rick Savage (Def Leppard) is 57. Actor Brendan Coyle is 54. Rock musician Nate Mendel (Foo Fighters) is 49. Actress Suzy Nakamura is 49. Actress Rena Sofer is 49. Rock singer Jimi (cq) HaHa (Jimmie’s Chicken Shack) is 49. Actress Lucy Liu (loo) is 49. Rapper Treach (Naughty By Nature) is 47. Actor Joe Lo Truglio is 47. International Tennis Hall of Famer Monica Seles is 44. Singer Nelly Furtado is 39. Pop singer Britney Spears is 36. Actress-singer Jana Kramer is 34. Actress Yvonne Orji is 34. Actress Daniela Ruah (roo-ah) is 34. NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers is 34. Actor Alfred Enoch is 29. Pop singer-songwriter Charlie Puth is 26. Actresses Deanna and Daniella Canterman are 25.