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This day in history

Wednesday, Dec. 12, is the 347th day of 2012. There are 19 days left in the year.

Today’s Birthdays: Former TV host Bob Barker is 89. Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch is 88. Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Pettit is 80. Singer Connie Francis is 75. Singer Dionne Warwick is 72. Rock singer-musician Dickey Betts is 69. Former race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi is 66. Actor Wings Hauser is 65. Actor Bill Nighy is 63. Actor Duane Chase (‘‘The Sound of Music”) is 62. Country singer LaCosta is 62. Gymnast-turned-actress Cathy Rigby is 60. Author Lorna Landvik is 58. Singer-musician Sheila E. is 55. Actress Sheree J. Wilson is 54. Pop singer Daniel O’Donnell is 51. International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin is 50. Rock musician Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors) is 49. Rock musician Nicholas Dimichino (Nine Days) is 45. News anchor Maggie Rodriguez is 43. Actress Jennifer Connelly is 42. Actress Madchen Amick is 42. Country singer Hank Williams III is 40. Actress Mayim Bialik is 37. Model Bridget Hall is 35.

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In 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the US Constitution.

In 1870, Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first black lawmaker sworn into the US House of Representatives.

In 1897, ‘‘The Katzenjammer Kids,’’ the pioneering comic strip created by Rudolph Dirks, made its debut in the New York Journal.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt nominated Oscar Straus to be Secretary of Commerce and Labor; Straus became the first Jewish Cabinet member.

In 1911, Britain’s King George V announced during a visit to India that the capital would be transferred from Calcutta to Delhi.

In 1917, Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town outside Omaha, Neb.

In 1925, the first motel — the Motel Inn — opened in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

In 1937, Japanese aircraft sank the US gunboat Panay on China’s Yangtze River. (Japan apologized, and paid $2.2 million in reparations.)

In 1946, a United Nations committee voted to accept a six-block tract of Manhattan real estate offered as a gift by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to be the site of the UN’s headquarters.

In 1963, Kenya gained its independence from Britain.

In 1985, 248 American soldiers and eight crew members were killed when an Arrow Air charter crashed after takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland.

In 2000, George W. Bush was transformed into the president-elect as a divided US Supreme Court reversed a state court decision for recounts in Florida’s contested election.

In 2002, President George W. Bush publicly rebuked Senate Republican leader Trent Lott for his statement that appeared to embrace half-century-old segregationist politics, calling it ‘‘offensive’’ and ‘‘wrong.’’

In 2007, President George W. Bush vetoed a second bill that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children.

In 2011, President Barack Obama met at the White House with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki; afterward, the president declared that US troops were leaving Iraq ‘‘with honor and with their heads held high.’’ Bert Schneider, 78, a producer credited with inspiring a ‘‘New Hollywood’’ band of independent filmmakers in the 1970s and 1980s, died in Los Angeles.

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