On this date in history:
In 1783, in Paris, Jean de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes made the first free-flight ascent in a balloon.
In 1877, Thomas Edison announced his invention of the phonograph.
In 1916, the HMHS Britannic, originally built as a passenger liner and later pressed into service as a hospital ship during World War I, was sunk by a naval mine. Thirty people died and 1,035 survived.
In 1922, Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia takes the oath of office, becoming the first female U.S. senator. Her appointment was of a temporary nature, as she served just 24 hours.
In 1938, Nazi forces occupied western Czechoslovakia and declared its people German citizens.
In 1974, the U.S. Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act over President Gerald Ford's veto.
In 1985, Jonathan Jay Pollard, a civilian U.S. Navy intelligence analyst and Jewish American, was arrested on charges of illegally passing classified U.S. security information about Arab nations to Israel. Pollard, sentenced to life in prison, was released on November 20, 2016.
In 1991, U.S. President George H.W. Bush signed the Civil Rights Act of 1991, making it easier for workers to sue in job discrimination cases.
In 2005, General Motors Corp., the world's biggest carmaker, announced it was cutting its payroll by 30,000 employees and would be shutting down all or parts of a dozen plants.
In 2006, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced a restoration of diplomatic ties with Syria after 24 years of strained relations.
In 2012, a cease-fire was announced after eight days of fighting that officials said killed about 130 Palestinians and six Israelis. Hundreds of people were injured. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he held Hamas responsible to keep the truce.
In 2013, the U.S. Senate made a historic rules change that weakened the power of the filibuster, which opposition parties have used to slow or derail presidential nominations. The change cut the number of votes needed for approval of executive and most judicial nominees from 60 votes to 51. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said the action was taken because Americans believe the Senate is broken -- and I believe they are right.
In 2021, six people were killed and dozens others injured after a car plowed into the Waukesha Christmas Parade in Wisconsin. The driver, Darrell Brooks, received six consecutive life sentences.
In 2022, a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck near Cianjur on the island of West Java, Indonesia, killing more than 325 people.
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