Today is Thursday, Dec. 29, the 363rd day of 2011. There are two days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 29, 1851, the first Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in the United States was founded in Boston.
On this date:
In 1170, Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was slain in Canterbury Cathedral by knights loyal to King Henry II.
In 1808, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, was born in Raleigh, N.C.
In 1845, Texas was admitted as the 28th state.
In 1890, the Wounded Knee massacre took place in South Dakota as an estimated 300 Sioux Indians were killed by U.S. troops sent to disarm them.
In 1911, Sun Yat-sen was elected provisional president of the Republic of China, which officially came into existence three days later on Jan. 1, 1912.
In 1916, Grigory Rasputin, the so-called "Mad Monk" who'd wielded great influence with Czar Nicholas II, was killed by a group of Russian noblemen in St. Petersburg.
In 1934, Japan formally renounced the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.
In 1940, during World War II, Germany dropped incendiary bombs on London, setting off what came to be known as "The Second Great Fire of London."
In 1975, a bomb exploded in the main terminal of New York's LaGuardia Airport, killing 11 people.
In 1986, former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan died at his home south of London at age 92.
Ten years ago: A fire sparked by a fireworks explosion in downtown Lima, Peru, killed at least 290 people.
Five years ago: Word reached the United States of the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (because of the time difference, it was the morning of Dec. 30 in Iraq when the hanging took place). In a statement, President George W. Bush called Saddam's execution a milestone on Iraq's road to democracy. Gerald R. Ford's flag-draped casket was carried into a church in Palm Desert, Calif., for a public viewing that marked the start of six days of mourning for the former president. More than 400 people died when a crowded Indonesian ferry sank in the Java Sea.
One year ago: The Obama administration expelled Venezuela's ambassador to the United States, a day after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he would not allow diplomat Larry Palmer to become the U.S. ambassador to his country. Suicide bombers succeeded in killing Iraqi police commander Lt. Col. Shamil al-Jabouri, who was renowned in the tense northern city of Mosul for his relentless pursuit of al-Qaida.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Inga Swenson is 79. ABC newscaster Tom Jarriel is 77. Actress Mary Tyler Moore is 75. Actor Jon Voight is 73. Country singer Ed Bruce is 72. Rock musician Ray Thomas is 70. Singer Marianne Faithfull is 65. Jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. is 65. Actor Ted Danson is 64. Actor Jon Polito is 61. Singer-actress Yvonne Elliman is 60. Actress Patricia Clarkson is 52. Comedian Paula Poundstone is 52. Rock singer-musician Jim Reid (The Jesus and Mary Chain) is 50. Actor Michael Cudlitz is 47. Rock singer Dexter Holland (The Offspring) is 46. Actor-comedian Mystro Clark is 45. Actor Jason Gould is 45. Movie director Andy Wachowski is 44. Actress Jennifer Ehle is 42. Actor Patrick Fischler is 42. Rock singer-musician Glen Phillips is 41. Actor Kevin Weisman is 41. Actor Jude Law is 39. Actor Mekhi Phifer is 37. Actor Shawn Hatosy is 36. Actress Katherine Moennig is 34. Actor Diego Luna is 32. Country singer Jessica Andrews is 28.
Thought for Today: "Sin cannot be undone, only forgiven." -- Igor Stravinsky, Russian-born composer (1882-1971).