• On Dec. 10, 1901, the first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, on the fifth anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite and other high explosives. Although Nobel offered no reason for his creation of the prizes, it is believed he did so out of moral regret over the increasingly lethal uses of his inventions in war.
• On Dec. 12, 1917, in Omaha, Neb., Father Edward J. Flanagan, a 31-yearold Irish priest, opens the doors to a home for troubled and neglected children. Today “Boys and Girls Town” includes a grade school, a high school and a career vocational center on a farm 10 miles west of Omaha.
• On Dec. 7, 1925, future Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller sets the world record for the 150-yard freestyle swim. Already a gold medalist from the 1924 Olympics, Weissmuller competed again in 1928, taking five gold medals in all. In 1931, MGM cast Weissmuller to play the title role in “Tarzan the Ape Man.”
• On Dec. 11, 1946, in the aftermath of World War II, the United Nations votes to establish the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), an organization to help provide relief and support to children living in countries devastated by the war.
• On Dec. 8, 1987, at a summit meeting in Washington, D.C., President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign the first treaty between the two superpowers to reduce their massive nuclear arsenals. Previous agreements had merely been attempts by the two Cold War adversaries to limit the growth of their nuclear arsenals.
• On Dec. 9, 1992, British Prime Minister John Major announces the formal separation of Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne, and his wife, Princess Diana. The report came after several years of speculation by the tabloid press that the marriage was in peril.
(c) 2009 King Features Synd.