December 13, 1955: John W. Dingell, Jr. takes the oath of office to succeed his father, who had died in office. The two would represent Michigan in Congress from the Coolidge Administration to the Obama Administration. The younger Dingell became a Democratic power, and an auto industry ally, thwarting environmental measures for clean air and fuel efficiency. At age 86, he’s still there.
Dec. 13, 1982: A magnitude 6.0 earthquake hits Dhamar, in North Yemen, taking nearly 3,000 lives.
Dec. 13, 2003: Greenpeace faces prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department following a 2002 protest aboard a ship containing what are allegedly illegal log imports from the Amazon. For the first time in over a century, prosecutors are using a law against “sailor-mongering,” passed in 1872 to restrict brothels and taverns from luring sailors ashore. The court eventually decides that the activists were not sailor-mongering.
Dec. 13, 2006: A panel of scientists declares China’s baiji, or Yangtze River dolphin (at right), “functionally extinct.”
Dec. 13, 2012: France becomes the first nation to ban bisphenol-A from food containers. The plastics additive is believed to pose cancer and reproductive risks.
Photo: ZUMA Press