Metro

This day in history

Today is Friday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2018. There are 24 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky is 90. Actress Ellen Burstyn is 86. Broadcast journalist Carole Simpson is 78. Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench is 71. Actor-director James Keach is 71. Country singer Gary Morris is 70. Singer-songwriter Tom Waits is 69. Senator Susan M. Collins, Republican of Maine, is 66. Celtics Hall of Famer Larry Bird is 62. Actor Jeffrey Wright is 53. Former NFL player Terrell Owens is 45. Singer Sara Bareilles is 39.

In 43 B.C., Roman statesman and scholar Marcus Tullius Cicero was slain at the order of the Second Triumvirate.

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In 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the US Constitution.

In 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the Navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as part of its plan to conquer Southeast Asian territories. The raid claimed some 2,400 American lives and prompted the United States to enter World War II.

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In 1946, fire broke out at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta; the blaze killed 119 people, including hotel founder W. Frank Winecoff.

In 1972, America’s last moon mission to date was launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral.

In 1987, 43 people were killed after a gunman aboard a Pacific Southwest Airlines jetliner in California apparently opened fire on a fellow passenger, the pilots and himself, causing the plane to crash. Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev set foot on American soil for the first time, arriving for a Washington summit with President Reagan.

In 1988, a major earthquake in the Soviet Union devastated northern Armenia; official estimates put the death toll at 25,000.

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In 1993, a gunman opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train, killing six people and wounding 19. (The shooter was later sentenced to a minimum of 200 years in prison.)

In 2001, Taliban forces abandoned their last bastion in Afghanistan, fleeing the southern city of Kandahar.

In 2004, Hamid Karzai was sworn in as Afghanistan’s first popularly elected president.

Last year, Democratic Senator Al Franken said he would resign after a series of sexual harassment allegations. Republican Representative Trent Franks of Arizona said he would resign, after revealing that he discussed surrogacy with two female staffers. A white former South Carolina police officer, Michael Slager, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black motorist, Walter Scott, in North Charleston in 2015.