This day in history

Today is Thursday, Dec. 8, the 343rd day of 2016. There are 23 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Flutist James Galway is 77. Rock singer Gregg Allman is 69. Reggae singer Toots Hibbert is 68. Actress Kim Basinger is 63. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim is 57. Political commentator Ann Coulter is 55. Actress Teri Hatcher is 52. Singer Sinead O’Connor is 50.

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In 1765, Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, was born in Westborough, Mass.

In 1940, the Chicago Bears defeated the Washington Redskins, 73-0, in the NFL title game, which was carried on network radio for the first time (the announcer was Red Barber).

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In 1941, the United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Imperial Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In 1962, the first session of the Second Vatican Council was formally adjourned.

In 1980, rock star John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment by an apparently deranged fan.

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In 1987, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty at the White House calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

In 1991, Russia, Byelorussia, and Ukraine declared the Soviet national government dead, forging a new alliance to be known as the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Last year, China declared its first ever red smog alert as poisonous air quality forced the government to close schools and factories and order motorists off the road.