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    This day in history

    Friday, Dec. 14, is the 349th day of 2012. There are 17 days left in the year.

    Today’s birthdays: Jazz musician Clark Terry is 92. Actress Patty Duke is 66. Singer-musician Peter ‘‘Spider’’ Stacy (the Pogues) is 54. Actress Cynthia Gibb is 49. Actress Natascha McElhone is 43. Actress Vanessa Hudgens is 24.

    In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22d state.


    In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating out a British expedition led by Robert F. Scott.

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    In 1962, the US space probe Mariner 2 passed Venus at a distance of just over 21,000 miles, transmitting information about the planet, such as its hot surface temperatures and predominantly carbon dioxide atmosphere.

    In 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan concluded their third and final moonwalk.

    In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967.

    In 2007, a man accused of being the Phoenix Baseline Killer was sentenced to 438 years in prison for the sexual assaults of two sisters. (Mark Goudeau was tried in 2011 for the slayings of eight women and a man in 2005-06; he was convicted and sentenced to death.)


    In 2011, President Obama, visiting Fort Bragg in North Carolina, saluted troops returning from Iraq, asserting that the nearly nine-year conflict was ending honorably.