Today's Highlight in History:
- On Dec. 31, 1879, Thomas Edison first publicly demonstrated his electric incandescent light in Menlo Park, N.J.
- On this date:
- In 1775, the British repulsed an attack by Continental Army generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold at Quebec; Montgomery was killed.
- In 1857, Britain's Queen Victoria decided to make Ottawa the capital of Canada.
- In 1877, President Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife, Lucy, celebrated their silver anniversary (actually, a day late) by re-enacting their wedding ceremony in the White House.
- In 1908, Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal was born in Buczacs in what was then Austria-Hungary.
- In 1946, President Harry S. Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.
- In 1974, private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.
- In 1978, Taiwanese diplomats struck their colors for the final time from the embassy flagpole in Washington, marking the end of diplomatic relations with the U.S.
- In 1985, singer Rick Nelson, 45, and six other people were killed when fire broke out aboard a DC-3 that was taking the group to a New Year's Eve performance in Dallas.
- In 1986, 97 people were killed when fire broke out in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Three hotel workers later pleaded guilty in connection with the blaze.)
- In 1997, Michael Kennedy, the 39-year-old son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a skiing accident on Aspen Mountain in Colorado.
Ten years ago:
- Europe's leaders proclaimed a new era as 11 nations merged currencies to create the euro, a shared money they said would boost business, underpin unity and strengthen their role in world affairs.
Five years ago:
- A car bomb ripped through a crowded restaurant hosting a New Year's Eve party in Baghdad, killing eight Iraqis.
One year ago:
- President George W. Bush signed legislation to allow state and local governments to cut investment ties with Sudan because of the violence in Darfur.
- Sara Jane Moore, who took a shot at President Gerald R. Ford in San Francisco in 1975, was paroled after 32 years behind bars.
- TV producer George Schlatter is 79.
- Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins is 71.
- Actor Tim Considine ("My Three Sons") is 68.
- Actress Sarah Miles is 67.
- Rock musician Andy Summers is 66.
- Actor Ben Kingsley is 65.
- Rock musician Peter Quaife (The Kinks) is 65.
- Producer-director Taylor Hackford is 64.
- Actor Tim Matheson is 61.
- Pop singer Burton Cummings (The Guess Who) is 61.
- Singer Donna Summer is 60.
- Actor Joe Dallesandro is 60.
- Rock musician Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith) is 57.
- Actor James Remar is 55.
- Actress Bebe Neuwirth is 50.
- Actor Val Kilmer is 49.
- Singer Paul Westerberg is 49.
- Actor Don Diamont is 46.
- Rock musician Ric Ivanisevich (Oleander) is 46.
- Rock musician Scott Ian (Anthrax) is 45.
- Actress Gong Li is 43.
- Author Nicholas Sparks is 43.
- Pop singer Joe McIntyre is 36.
- Rock musician Mikko Siren (Apocalyptica) is 33.
- Rock musician Bob Bryar (My Chemical Romance) is 29.
Thought for Today:
"In masks outrageous and austere The years go by in single file; But none has merited my fear, And none has quite escaped my smile."
Elinor Wylie, American author (1885-1928).
"Let's all be careful out there!"