Today in History - Feb. 11
Today is Monday, Feb. 11, the 42nd day of 2008. There are 324 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 11, 1858, a French girl, Bernadette Soubirous, claimed to have experienced the first of 18 visions of a lady dressed in white in a grotto near Lourdes. (The Catholic Church later accepted that the visions were of the Virgin Mary; Bernadette, who died in 1879 at age 35, was canonized in 1933.)
On this date:
In 1812, Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting law favoring his party — giving rise to the term "gerrymandering."
In 1847, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio.
In 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln departed Springfield, Ill., for Washington.
In 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.
In 1937, a 6-week-old sit-down strike against General Motors Corps. ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.
In 1945, President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement during World War II.
In 1972, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company and Life magazine canceled plans to publish what turned out to be a fake autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.
In 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran.
In 1986, Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky was released by the Soviet Union after nine years of captivity as part of an East-West prisoner exchange.
In 1990, South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.
Ten years ago: Attorney General Janet Reno asked for an independent prosecutor to investigate whether Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt had misled Congress in connection with an Indian casino controversy. (The counsel, Carol Elder Bruce, found no wrongdoing on Babbitt's part.) Skier Jonny Moseley won the first U.S. gold medal at Nagano, in men's moguls freestyle; Picabo Street won the women's super-G. Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati was stripped of his gold medal after testing positive for marijuana. (The medal was later reinstated).
Five years ago: Addressing a historic rift within NATO, Secretary of State Colin Powell told a congressional hearing the future of the military alliance was at risk if it failed to confront the crisis with Iraq. The al-Jazeera Arab satellite station broadcast what was believed to be a new audio statement from Osama bin Laden urging Iraqis to carry out suicide attacks on Americans.
One year ago: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, marking the 28th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, vowed his country would not give up uranium enrichment. The Dixie Chicks won five Grammys in a defiant comeback after being shunned over their anti-President Bush comments about the Iraq war. Harvard University named historian Drew Gilpin Faust its first female president.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Leslie Nielsen is 82. Actor Conrad Janis is 80. Actress Tina Louise is 74. Actor Burt Reynolds is 72. Songwriter Gerry Goffin is 69. Bandleader Sergio Mendes is 67. Rhythm-and-blues singer Otis Clay is 66. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt is 57. Actor Philip Anglim is 56. Actress Catherine Hickland is 52. Rock musician David Uosikkinen (The Hooters) is 52. Actress Carey Lowell is 47. Singer Sheryl Crow is 46. Actress Jennifer Aniston is 39. Actor Damian Lewis is 37. Actress Marisa Petroro is 36. Singer D'Angelo is 34. Actor Brice Beckham is 32. Rock MC/vocalist Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) is 31. Singer-actress Brandy is 29. Actor Matthew Lawrence is 28. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kelly Rowland is 27. Actress Q'orianka Kilcher is 18. Actor Taylor Lautner is 16.
Thought for Today: "We had better live as we think, otherwise we shall end up by thinking as we have lived." — Paul Bourget, French author (1852-1935).