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Five years ago: Word reached the United States of the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (because of the time difference, it was the morning of Dec. 30 in Iraq when the hanging took place). In a statement, President George W. Bush called Saddam's execution a milestone on Iraq's road to democracy. Gerald R. Ford's flag-draped casket was carried into a church in Palm Desert, Calif., for a public viewing that marked the start of six days of mourning for the former president. More than 400 people died when a crowded Indonesian ferry sank in the Java Sea.
One year ago: The Obama administration expelled Venezuela's ambassador to the United States, a day after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he would not allow diplomat Larry Palmer to become the U.S. ambassador to his country. Suicide bombers succeeded in killing Iraqi police commander Lt. Col. Shamil al-Jabouri, who was renowned in the tense northern city of Mosul for his relentless pursuit of al-Qaida.
Today's birthdays: Actress Inga Swenson is 79. ABC newscaster Tom Jarriel is 77. Actress Mary Tyler Moore is 75. Actor Jon Voight is 73. Country singer Ed Bruce is 72. Rock musician Ray Thomas is 70. Singer Marianne Faithfull is 65. Jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. is 65. Actor Ted Danson is 64. Actor Jon Polito is 61. Singer-actress Yvonne Elliman is 60. Actress Patricia Clarkson is 52. Comedian Paula Poundstone is 52. Rock singer-musician Jim Reid (The Jesus and Mary Chain) is 50. Actor Michael Cudlitz is 47. Rock singer Dexter Holland (The Offspring) is 46. Actor-comedian Mystro Clark is 45. Actor Jason Gould is 45. Movie director Andy Wachowski is 44. Actress Jennifer Ehle is 42. Actor Patrick Fischler is 42. Rock singer-musician Glen Phillips is 41. Actor Kevin Weisman is 41. Actor Jude Law is 39. Actor Mekhi Phifer (mih-KY' FY'-fuhr) is 37. Actor Shawn Hatosy is 36. Actress Katherine Moennig is 34. Actor Diego Luna is 32. Country singer Jessica Andrews is 28.
Thought for today: "Sin cannot be undone, only forgiven." -- Igor Stravinsky, Russian-born composer (1882-1971)
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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