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This day in history

Tuesday, Dec. 18, is the 353d day of 2012. There are 13 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Rock singer-musician Keith Richards is 69. Movie producer-director Steven Spielberg is 66. Rock musician Elliot Easton is 59. Actor Ray Liotta is 57. Actor Brad Pitt is 49. Rapper DMX is 42. DJ Lethal (Limp Bizkit) is 40. Actress Katie Holmes is 34. Singer Christina Aguilera is 32.

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In 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the US Constitution.

In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect by Secretary of State William H. Seward.

In 1892, Tchaikovsky’s ballet ‘‘The Nutcracker’’ publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In 1958, the world’s first communications satellite was launched by the United States.

In 1962, ‘‘Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol,’’ an animated musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens story, first aired on NBC-TV.

In 1971, the Rev. Jesse Jackson announced in Chicago the founding of Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity).

In 1972, the United States began heavy bombing of North Vietnamese targets during the Vietnam War. (The bombardment ended 11 days later.)

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