Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 30, 1813, British troops burned Buffalo, N.Y., during the War of 1812.
On this date:
In 1853, the United States and Mexico signed a treaty under which the U.S. agreed to buy some 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico for $10 million in a deal known as the Gadsden Purchase.
In 1860, 10 days after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the state militia seized the United States Arsenal in Charleston.
In 1903, about 600 people died when fire broke out at the recently opened Iroquois Theater in Chicago.
In 1922, Vladimir I. Lenin proclaimed the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
In 1936, the United Auto Workers union staged its first "sit-down" strike at the General Motors Fisher Body Plant No. 1 in Flint, Mich. (The strike lasted until Feb. 11, 1937.)
In 1940, California's first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena, was officially opened by Gov. Culbert L. Olson.
In 1948, the Cole Porter musical "Kiss Me, Kate" opened on Broadway.
In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos was inaugurated for his first term as president of the Philippines.
In 1972, the United States halted its heavy bombing of North Vietnam.
In 1993, Israel and the Vatican agreed to recognize each other. Hollywood agent Irving "Swifty" Lazar died in Beverly Hills, Calif. at age 86.
In 1994, a gunman walked into a pair of suburban Boston abortion clinics and opened fire, killing two employees. (John C. Salvi III was later convicted of murder; he died in prison, an apparent suicide.)
In 2006, Iraqis awoke to news that Saddam Hussein had been hanged; victims of his three decades of autocratic rule took to the streets to celebrate.
Ten years ago: The Bush administration announced it was banning the sale of ephedra, and urged consumers to immediately stop using the herbal stimulant linked to 155 deaths and dozens of heart attacks and strokes. Author John Gregory Dunne died in New York City at age 71.
Five years ago: A defiant Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich named former state Attorney General Roland Burris to Barack Obama's Senate seat, a surprise move that put the governor's opponents in the uncomfortable position of trying to block his choice from becoming the Senate's only black member. (Burris was sworn in as a U.S. senator the following month.) Israeli aircraft kept up a relentless string of attacks on Hamas-ruled Gaza, smashing a government complex, security installations and the home of a top militant commander. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law extending presidential terms from four years to six.
One year ago: Recalling the shooting rampage that killed 20 first graders in Connecticut as the worst day of his presidency, President Barack Obama, in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," pledged to put his "full weight" behind legislation aimed at preventing gun violence. A bus crashed on an icy Oregon highway, killing nine passengers and injuring almost 40 on Interstate 84 east of Pendleton.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Joseph Bologna is 79. Actor Russ Tamblyn is 79. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax is 78. Actor Jack Riley is 78. Folk singer Noel Paul Stookey is 76. TV director James Burrows is 73. Actor Fred Ward is 71. Singer-musician Michael Nesmith is 71. Actress Concetta Tomei is 68. Singer Patti Smith is 67. Rock singer-musician Jeff Lynne is 66. TV personality Meredith Vieira is 60. Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph is 58. Actress Patricia Kalember is 57. Country singer Suzy Bogguss is 57. "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer is 56. Actress-comedian Tracey Ullman is 54. Rock musician Rob Hotchkiss is 53. Radio-TV commentator Sean Hannity is 52. Sprinter Ben Johnson is 52. Actor George Newbern is 50. Singer Jay Kay (Jamiroquai) is 44. Rock musician Byron McMackin (Pennywise) is 44. Actress Meredith Monroe is 44. Actor Daniel Sunjata is 42. Actress Maureen Flannigan is 41. Actor Jason Behr is 40. Golfer Tiger Woods is 38. TV personality-boxer Laila Ali is 36. Actress Lucy Punch is 36. Singer-actor Tyrese Gibson is 35. Actress Eliza Dushku is 33. Rock musician Tim Lopez (Plain White T's) is 33. Actress Kristin Kreuk is 31. Folk-rock singer-musician Wesley Schultz (The Lumineers) is 31. NBA player LeBron James is 29. Pop-rock singer Ellie Goulding is 27. Pop-rock musician Jamie Follese (Hot Chelle Rae) is 22.
Thought for Today: "Work is a dull thing; you cannot get away from that. The only agreeable existence is one of idleness, and that is not, unfortunately, always compatible with continuing to exist at all." — Rose Macaulay, English poet and essayist (1881-1958).