Today is Wednesday, Dec. 16, the 351st day of 2020. There are 15 days left in the year.
Today in History
On Dec. 16, 2000, President-elect George W. Bush selected Colin Powell to become the first African-American secretary of state.
On this date:
In 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place as American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped more than 300 chests of tea into Boston Harbor to protest tea taxes.
In 1809, the French Senate granted a divorce decree to Emperor Napoleon I and Empress Josephine (the dissolution was made final the following month).
In 1811, the first of the powerful New Madrid (MAD’-rihd) earthquakes struck the central Mississippi Valley with an estimated magnitude of 7.7.
In 1905, the entertainment trade publication Variety came out with its first weekly issue.
In 1944, the World War II Battle of the Bulge began as German forces launched a surprise attack against Allied forces through the Ardennes Forest in Belgium and Luxembourg (the Allies were eventually able to turn the Germans back).
In 1950, President Harry S. Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency in order to fight “world conquest by Communist imperialism.”
In 1960, 134 people were killed when a United Air Lines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collided over New York City.
In 1980, Harland Sanders, founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain, died in Shelbyville, Kentucky, at age 90.
In 1982, Environmental Protection Agency head Anne M. Gorsuch became the first Cabinet-level officer to be cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to submit documents requested by a congressional committee.
In 1985, Organized-crime chief Paul Castellano and his bodyguard were shot to death outside a New York City restaurant on orders from John Gotti.
In 1991, the U.N. General Assembly rescinded its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism by a vote of 111-25.
In 2001, after nine weeks of fighting, Afghan militia leaders claimed control of the last mountain bastion of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida fighters, but bin Laden himself was nowhere to be seen.
Ten years ago
The House joined the Senate in passing a massive bipartisan tax package preventing a big New Year’s Day tax hike for millions of Americans. Interviewer Larry King, joined by a parade of former guests, concluded his CNN talk show after 25 years.
Five years ago
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, lifting its key rate by a quarter-point to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent. The first attempt to find a Baltimore police officer criminally responsible for Freddie Gray’s death from a broken neck in a police van ended with a hung jury and a mistrial in the case of William Porter.
Civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dees is 84. Actor Joyce Bulifant is 83. Actor Liv Ullmann is 82. CBS news correspondent Lesley Stahl is 79. Pop musician Tony Hicks (The Hollies) is 75. Pop singer Benny Andersson (ABBA) is 74. Rock singer-musician Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) is 71. Rock musician Bill Bateman (The Blasters) is 69. Actor Xander Berkeley is 65. Actor Alison LaPlaca is 61. Actor Sam Robards is 59. Actor Jon Tenney is 59. Actor Benjamin Bratt is 57. Country singer-songwriter Jeff Carson is 57. Actor-comedian JB Smoove is 55. Actor Miranda Otto is 53. Actor Daniel Cosgrove is 50. Rhythm-and-blues singer Michael McCary is 49. Actor Jonathan Scarfe is 45. Actor Krysten Ritter is 39. Actor Zoe Jarman is 38. Country musician Chris Scruggs is 38. Actor Theo James is 36. Actor Amanda Setton is 35.
Rock musician Dave Rublin (American Authors) is 34. Actor Hallee Hirsh is 33. Actor Anna Popplewell is 32. Actor Stephan James is 27.