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Today in History - December 31st
1862 - On this day in history, President Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union.
1877 - Rutherford B. Hayes became the first U.S. President to celebrate his silver (25th) wedding anniversary in the White House.
1891 - Today in history, New York's new Immigration Depot was opened at Ellis Island, to provide improved facilities for the massive numbers of foreign arrivals.
1897 - Brooklyn, NY, spent its last day as a separate entity before becoming part of New York City.
1946 - On this day in history, President Truman officially announced the end of hostilities in World War II.
1955 - General Motors became the first corporation to earn more than one billion dollars in a single year.
1961 - Today in history, The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid.
1974 - Private US citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.
1981 - On this day in history, CNN Headline News premiered.
1991- Today in history was the last day of existence of the Soviet Union (USSR).
1997 - Michael Kennedy, 39-year-old son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a skiing accident on Aspen Mountain, CO.
1999 - On this day in history, Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was designated acting president.
2010- Italy's plan to ban plastic bags went into effect; the country was using 20 billion plastic bags a year.
2011 - Today in history in North Korea, Kim Jong-un was given the tile of Supreme Commander of North Korea's armed forces
SCIENCE, DISCOVERIES, PATENTS - Today in History, December 31st
1879 - Thomas Edison gave his first public demonstration of incandescent lighting to an audience in Menlo Park, NJ.
MUSIC HISTORY - Today in History, December 31st
1929 - Today in history, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played "Auld Lang Syne" as a New Year's Eve song for the first time.
1961 - The Beach Boys played a show under this name for the first time at a Ritchie Valens memorial concert in Long Beach, CA.
1969 - On this day in history, Jimi Hendrix introduced his new Band of Gypsies at a show that was recorded and later released as the live album "Band of Gypsies."
1971 - The Beatles broke up.
1975 - Today in history, Elvis Presley performed for 60,000 fans at the Silverdome, in Pontiac, MI. He set a world record for earning $800,000 for a single concert by a single artist.
1981 - MTV hosted the first New Year's Eve Rock and Roll Ball.
1993 - On this day in history, Barbra Streisand performed her first paid concert in 22 years at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, NV.
FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS - December 31st
Henri Matisse 1869
Anthony Hopkins 1937
John Denver 1943
Ben Kingsley 1943
Diane von Furstenberg 1945
Donna Summer 1948
Bebe Neuwirth 1958
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