On Dec. 30:

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 1905, the Franz Lehar operetta "The Merry Widow" premiered in Vienna.

In 1916, Grigory Rasputin, the so-called "Mad Monk" who wielded considerable influence with Czar Nicholas II, was killed by a group of Russian noblemen in St. Petersburg.

In 1936, the United Auto Workers union staged its first "sit-down" strike at the General Motors Fisher Body Plant No. 1 in Flint, Michigan. (The strike lasted until Feb. 11, 1937.)

In 1942, a near-riot of bobby-soxers greeted the opening of Frank Sinatra's singing engagement at the Paramount Theater in New York's Times Square.

In 1947, King Michael I of Romania agreed to abdicate, but charged he was being forced off the throne by Communists.

In 1954, Olympic gold medal runner Malvin G. Whitfield became the first black recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award for amateur athletes.

In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos was inaugurated for his first term as president of the Philippines.

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 1997, a deadly massacre in Algeria's insurgency began in four mountain villages as armed men killed women and children in an attack that lasted from dusk until dawn the following morning; up to 412 deaths were reported.

In 1999, former Beatle George Harrison fought off a knife-wielding intruder who'd broken into his mansion west of London and stabbed him in the chest. (The attacker was later acquitted of attempted murder by reason of insanity.)

In 2007, Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki was declared winner of an election marred by widespread allegations of rigging; violence flared in Nairobi slums and coastal resort towns, killing scores in the following days. Three days after Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, her 19-year-old son, Bilawal Zardari, was named symbolic leader of her Pakistan Peoples Party, while her husband took effective control.

In 2012, recalling the shooting rampage that killed 20 first graders in Connecticut as the worst day of his presidency, President Barack Obama pledged on NBC's "Meet the Press" to put his "full weight" behind legislation aimed at preventing gun violence. A tour bus crashed on an icy Oregon highway, killing nine passengers and injuring almost 40 on Interstate 84 east of Pendleton.

In 2016, two luxury retreats in New York and Maryland where Russian diplomats had gone for decades to play tennis, sail and swim were shut down by the Obama administration in retaliation for Moscow's cyber-meddling in the presidential election. China announced it would shut down its ivory trade at the end of 2017 in a move designed to curb the mass slaughter of African elephants. Ronda Rousey was stopped 48 seconds into her comeback fight, losing to bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in Las Vegas.

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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