Today is Wednesday, Dec. 5, the 340th day of 2012. There are 26 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 5, 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union announced a bilateral space agreement on exchanging weather data from satellites, mapping Earth's geomagnetic field and cooperating in the experimental relay of communications.
On this date:
- In 1776, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
- In 1782, the eighth president of the United States, Martin Van Buren, was born in Kinderhook, N.Y.; he was the first chief executive to be born after American independence.
- In 1791, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in Vienna, Austria, at age 35.
- In 1792, George Washington was re-elected president; John Adams was re-elected vice president.
- In 1831, former President John Quincy Adams took his seat as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
- In 1848, President James K. Polk triggered the Gold Rush of '49 by confirming that gold had been discovered in California.
- In 1932, German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa, making it possible for him to travel to the United States.
- In 1933, national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment.
- In 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO under its first president, George Meany.
- In 1979, feminist Sonia Johnson was formally excommunicated by the Mormon Church because of her outspoken support for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
- In 1991, Richard Speck, who'd murdered eight student nurses in Chicago in 1966, died in prison a day short of his 50th birthday.
- In 1994, Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be the first GOP speaker of the House in four decades.