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Today in History

On Dec. 2, 1961, Fidel Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist who would eventually lead Cuba to Communism.

CP Photo/Granma/Raul Corrales

On Dec. 2, 1961, Fidel Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist who would eventually lead Cuba to Communism.

Today is Sunday, Dec. 2, the 337th day of 2012. There are 29 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Julie Harris is 87. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III is 81. Senate majority leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, is 73. Actress Cathy Lee Crosby is 68. Actor Ron Raines is 63. Country singer John Wesley Ryles is 62. Actor Keith Szarabajka is 60. Actor Dan Butler is 58. Broadcast journalist Stone Phillips is 58. Actor Dennis Christopher is 57. Actor Steven Bauer is 56. Country singer Joe Henry is 52. Rock musician Rick Savage (Def Leppard) is 52. Rock musician Nate Mendel (Foo Fighters) is 44. Actress Suzy Nakamura is 44. Actress Rena Sofer is 44. Rock singer Jimi HaHa (Jimmie’s Chicken Shack) is 44. Actress Lucy Liu is 44. Rapper Treach (Naughty By Nature) is 42. Tennis player Monica Seles is 39. Singer Nelly Furtado is 34. Pop singer-celebrity judge Britney Spears is 31. Actress-singer Jana Kramer is 29. Actress Daniela Ruah is 29. Actor Alfie Enoch is 24. Actresses Deanna and Daniella Canterman are 20.

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In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French.

In 1812, the Electoral College chose President James Madison to serve a second term of office.

In 1823, President James Monroe outlined his doctrine opposing European expansion in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry the previous October. Artist Georges-Pierre Seurat was born in Paris.

In 1927, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its Model A automobile that replaced its Model T.

In 1939, New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field (later LaGuardia Airport) went into operation as an airliner from Chicago landed at one minute past midnight.

In 1954, the Senate voted to condemn Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, Republican of Wisconsin, for conduct that ‘‘tends to bring the Senate into disrepute.’’

In 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist who would eventually lead Cuba to Communism.

In 1970, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors. (Its first director was William D. Ruckelshaus.)

In 1982, in the first operation of its kind, doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark, who lived 112 days with the device.

In 1991, American hostage Joseph Cicippio, held captive in Lebanon for more than five years, was released.

In 2001, in one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in US history, Enron filed for Chapter 11 protection.

In 2002, a statement attributed to Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the car-bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya and the attempted shoot-down of an Israeli airliner, both on Nov. 28. The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether minorities could be given a boost to get into universities. (A divided Court later allowed the nation’s colleges and universities to select students based in part on race, but emphasized that race could not be the overriding factor.) Italian interior designer and architect Achille Castiglioni died in Milan at age 84.

In 2007, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez suffered defeat as voters rejected sweeping constitutional reforms by 51 to 49 percent. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party swept 70 percent of the seats for a new parliament in a vote whose fairness was called into question by European election monitors. Brian Wilson, Martin Scorsese, Steve Martin, Diana Ross and pianist Leon Fleisher were the latest US artists to receive Kennedy Center honors for their career achievements.

In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi vowed to work together to promote democratic reforms in Suu Kyi’s long-isolated and authoritarian homeland. The Labor Department announced the unemployment rate had fallen to 8.6 percent in Nov. 2011, the lowest since March 2009.

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