Today

In History, Happenings, Birthdays

It’s Sunday, Dec. 2, the 337th day of 2012. There are 29 days left in the year.

In History

Highlights: In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French. In 1942, an artificially created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time at the University of Chicago. In 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist who would eventually lead Cuba to Communism. In 1982, in the first operation of its kind, doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark, who lived 112 days with the device. In 2001, in one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in U.S. history, Enron filed for Chapter 11 protection.

Ten years ago: A statement attributed to al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the car-bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya and the attempted shoot-down of an Israeli airliner, both on Nov. 28.

Five years ago: Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez suffered defeat as voters rejected sweeping constitutional reforms by 51 to 49 percent.

One year ago: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi vowed to work together to promote democratic reforms in Suu Kyi’s long-isolated and authoritarian homeland.

Happenings

• It’s the first day of Advent, the official start of the Christmas season for most Christians.

• The Kennedy Center recognizes major figures in culture at the 35th-annual awards gala in Washington, D.C.

• Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court is expected to dissolve the current constitutional assembly, as the country’s president pushes for a referendum.

Birthdays

Actress Julie Harris is 87. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III is 81. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is 73. Actress Cathy Lee Crosby is 68. Movie director Penelope Spheeris is 67. Actor Ron Raines is 63. Broadcast journalist Stone Phillips is 58. Rock musician Rick Savage (Def Leppard) is 52. Actress Lucy Liu is 44. Tennis player Monica Seles is 39. Singer Nelly Furtado is 34. Pop singer-celebrity judge Britney Spears is 31.

— From wire reports