This day in history, December 3: Gas leak in India kills thousands

This day in history, December 3: Gas leak in India kills thousands

Originally published on Chicago Tribune

Today is Thursday, Dec. 3, the 338th day of 2020. There are 28 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 3, 1984, thousands of people died after a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas escaped from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India.

On this date:

In 1818, Illinois was admitted as the 21st state.

In 1828, Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States by the Electoral College.

In 1833, Oberlin College in Ohio — the first truly coeducational school of higher learning in the United States — began holding classes.

In 1960, the Lerner and Loewe musical “Camelot,” starring Julie Andrews as Guenevere, Richard Burton as King Arthur and Robert Goulet as Lancelot, opened on Broadway.

In 1964, police arrested some 800 students at the University of California at Berkeley, one day after the students stormed the administration building and staged a massive sit-in.

In 1965, the Beatles’ sixth studio album, “Rubber Soul,” was released in the United Kingdom by Parlophone (it was released in the U.S. by Capitol Records three days later).

In 1967, a surgical team in Cape Town, South Africa, led by Dr. Christiaan Barnard (BAHR’-nard) performed the first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky, who lived 18 days with the donor organ, which came from Denise Darvall, a 25-year-old bank clerk who had died in a traffic accident.

In 1979, 11 people were killed in a crush of fans at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum, where the British rock group The Who was performing.

In 1992, the Greek tanker Aegean Sea spilled more than 21 million gallons of crude oil when it ran aground off northwestern Spain.

In 1994, AIDS activist Elizabeth Glaser, who along with her two children were infected with HIV because of a blood transfusion, died in Santa Monica, California, at age 47.

In 2014, a Staten Island, New York, grand jury declined to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the July 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner, a Black man who’d been stopped on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. (Pantaleo would be fired from the police force in August 2019.) Herman Badillo (bah-DEE’-yoh), a Bronx politician who was the first person born in Puerto Rico to become a U.S. congressman, died at age 85.

In 2017, the second-largest U.S. drugstore chain, CVS, announced that it was buying Aetna, the third-largest health insurer, in order to push much deeper into customer care.

Ten years ago: During a surprise holiday-season visit to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama told cheering U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field they were succeeding in their mission to fight terrorism; however, foul weather prevented Obama from meeting with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul to address frayed relations. The Labor Department reported the U.S. unemployment rate had risen in November 2010 to 9.8 percent after three straight months at 9.6 percent.

Five years ago: Congress approved a 5-year, $305 billion bill to address the nation’s aging and congested transportation systems (the bill was approved on a 359-65 vote in the House, and an 83-16 vote in the Senate). Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the armed services to open all military jobs to women, removing the final barriers that had kept women from serving in combat, including the most dangerous and grueling commando posts. Former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland was found dead in his tour bus in Bloomington, Minnesota; he was 48.

One year ago: A 300-page report prepared by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee found “serious misconduct” by President Donald Trump in his dealings with Ukraine; the report would serve as a foundation for debate over whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office. At the NATO summit in London, Trump branded Democrats as “unpatriotic” for moving ahead with the impeachment effort while he was overseas. After initially seeking to hold the 2020 G7 summit at a resort he owns in Florida, Trump announced that the annual gathering would be held at the Camp David retreat in Maryland. (It ended up being postponed by the coronavirus outbreak.)

Today’s birthdays: Movie director Jean-Luc Godard is 90. Singer Jaye P. Morgan is 89. Actor Nicolas Coster is 87. Actor Mary Alice is 79. Rock singer Ozzy Osbourne is 72. Rock singer Mickey Thomas is 71. Country musician Paul Gregg (Restless Heart) is 66. Actor Steven Culp is 65. Actor Daryl Hannah is 60. Actor Julianne Moore is 60. Olympic gold medal figure skater Katarina Witt is 55. Actor Brendan Fraser is 52. Singer Montell Jordan is 52. Actor Royale Watkins is 51. Actor Bruno Campos is 47. Actor Holly Marie Combs is 47. Actor Liza Lapira is 45. Actor Lauren Roman is 45. Pop-rock singer Daniel Bedingfield is 41. Actor/comedian Tiffany Haddish is 41. Actor Anna Chlumsky (KLUHM’-skee) is 40. Actor Jenna Dewan is 40. Actor Brian Bonsall is 39. Actor Dascha Polanco is 38. Pop/rock singer-songwriter Andy Grammer is 37. Americana musician Michael Calabrese (Lake Street Dive) is 36. Actor Amanda Seyfried is 35. Actor Michael Angarano is 33. Actor Jake T. Austin is 26.

Journalism, it’s often said, is the first-draft of history. Check back each day for what’s new … and old.

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