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Wright brothers conduct first successful manned flight, 1903

By The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Dec. 17, the 352nd day of 2020. There are 14 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned powered-airplane flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.

On this date: In 1777, France recognized American independence.

In 1933, in the inaugural NFL championship football game, the Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants, 23-21, at Wrigley Field.

In 1938, German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered nuclear fission by splitting the nuclei of uranium into lighter elements.

In 1944, the U.S. War Department announced it was ending its policy of excluding people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.

In 1975, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was sentenced in Sacramento, Calif. to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald R. Ford. (She was paroled in Aug. 2009.)

In 1979, Arthur McDuffie, a Black insurance executive, was fatally injured after leading police on a chase with his motorcycle in Miami. (Four white police officers accused of beating McDuffie were later acquitted, sparking riots.)

In 1989, the animated TV series “The Simpsons” premiered on Fox with a Christmas-themed episode.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in separate ceremonies. (After President Donald Trump demanded a new deal, the three countries signed a replacement agreement in 2018.)

In 2001, Marines raised the Stars and Stripes over the long-abandoned American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In 2007, Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed a measure making New Jersey the first state to abolish the death penalty in more than 40 years.

In 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died after more than a decade of iron rule; he was 69, according to official records, but some reports indicated he was 70.

In 2014, the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations, sweeping away one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama signed into law a huge, holiday-season tax bill extending cuts for all Americans, saluting a new spirit of political compromise as Republicans applauded and liberals seethed. Federal prosecutors reached a settlement with the estate of Florida philanthropist Jeffry Picower in which his widow, Barbara, agreed to return $7.2 billion that her husband had reaped from Bernard Madoff’s giant Ponzi scheme. Don Van Vliet, a musician and artist who’d performed a complex brand of experimental rock under the name Captain Beefheart, died in Arcata, California, at age 69. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was voted the 2010 Male Athlete of the Year by members of The Associated Press.

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