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Japan attacks US Navy base at Pearl Harbor

By The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2019. There are 24 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as part of its plan to conquer Southeast Asian territories; the raid, which claimed some 2,400 American lives, prompted the United States to declare war against Japan the next day.

On this date:

In 43 B.C., Roman statesman and scholar Marcus Tullius Cicero was slain at the order of the Second Triumvirate.

In 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1796, electors chose John Adams to be the second president of the United States.

In 1909, in his State of the Union address, President William Howard Taft defended the decision to base U.S. naval operations in the Pacific at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, instead of in the Philippines.

In 1911, China abolished the requirement that men wear their hair in a queue, or ponytail.

In 1917, during World War I, the United States declared war on Austria-Hungary.

In 1972, America’s last moon mission to date was launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral. Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, was stabbed and seriously wounded by an assailant who was shot dead by her bodyguards.

In 1982, convicted murderer Charlie Brooks Jr. became the first U.S. prisoner to be executed by injection, at a prison in Huntsville, Texas.

In 1987, 43 people were killed after a gunman aboard a Pacific Southwest Airlines jetliner in California apparently opened fire on a fellow passenger, the pilots and himself, causing the plane to crash. Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev set foot on American soil for the first time, arriving for a Washington summit with President Ronald Reagan.

In 1988, a major earthquake in the Soviet Union devastated northern Armenia; official estimates put the death toll at 25-thousand.

In 2004, Hamid Karzai was sworn in as Afghanistan’s first popularly elected president.

In 2017, Democratic Sen. Al Franken said he would resign after a series of sexual harassment allegations; he took a parting shot at President Donald Trump, describing him as “a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault.”