Today is Wednesday, Dec. 30, the 364th day of 2009. There is 1 day left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 30, 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.

On this date:

In 1813, the British burned Buffalo, N.Y., during the War of 1812.

In 1903, about 600 people died when fire broke out at the recently opened Iroquois Theater in Chicago.

In 1907, the Mills Commission issued its final report, concluding that Abner Doubleday had invented baseball, a view few sports historians, if any, agree with.

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 Fisher Body Plant No. 1 in Flint, Mich.

In 1948, the Cole Porter musical "Kiss Me, Kate" opened on Broadway.

In 1972, the United States halted its heavy bombing of North Vietnam.

In 1979, Broadway composer Richard Rodgers died in New York at age 77.

In 1989, a Northwest Airlines DC-10, which had been the target of a telephoned threat, flew safely from Paris to Detroit with 22 passengers amid extra-tight security.

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.)

Ten years ago: Former Beatle George Harrison fought off a knife-wielding intruder who broke into his mansion west of London and stabbed him in the chest. (Michael Abram was later acquitted of attempted murder by reason of insanity.) In Tampa, Fla., a gunman opened fire inside a hotel, killing four co-workers before shooting a fifth person dead as he tried to escape. (A suspect, housekeeper Silvio Izquierdo-Leyva, later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.)

Five years ago: Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared victor of Washington's gubernatorial election over Republican Dino Rossi by a mere 129 votes out of more than 2.8 million cast. A fire broke out during a rock concert at a nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 194 people. Bandleader and clarinetist Artie Shaw died in Thousand Oaks, Calif., at age 94.

One year ago: In a surprise move, a defiant Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich named former state Attorney General Roland Burris to Barack Obama's Senate seat. 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.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Joseph Bologna is 75. Actor Russ Tamblyn is 75. Baseball Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax is 74. Actor Jack Riley is 74. Folk singer Noel Paul Stookey is 72. TV director James Burrows is 69. Actor Fred Ward is 67. Singer-musician Michael Nesmith is 67. Singer Davy Jones is 64. Actress Concetta Tomei is 64. Singer Patti Smith is 63. Rock singer-musician Jeff Lynne is 62. TV host Meredith Vieira is 56. Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph is 54. Actress Patricia Kalember is 53. Country singer Suzy Bogguss is 53. "Today" show anchor Matt Lauer is 52. Actress-comedian Tracey Ullman is 50. Rock musician Rob Hotchkiss is 49. Radio-TV commentator Sean Hannity is 48. Track star Ben Johnson is 48. Actor George Newbern is 46. Singer Jay Kay (Jamiroquai) is 40. Rock musician Byron McMackin (Pennywise) is 40. Actress Meredith Monroe is 40. Actor Daniel Sunjata is 38. Actress Maureen Flannigan is 37. Actor Jason Behr is 36. Golfer Tiger Woods is 34. TV personality-boxer Laila Ali is 32. Singer-actress Tyrese Gibson is 31. Actress Eliza Dushku is 29. Rock musician Tim Lopez (Plain White T's) is 29. Actress Kristin Kreuk is 27. Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is 25.

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).


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