updated 11/30/2005 12:01:19 AM ET 2005-11-30T05:01:19

Today is Wednesday, Nov. 30, the 334th day of 2005. There are 31 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Nov. 30, 1782, the United States and Britain signed preliminary peace articles in Paris, ending the Revolutionary War.

On this date:
In 1803, Spain completed the process of ceding Louisiana to France, which had sold it to the United States.

In 1804, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase went on trial, accused of political bias. (He was acquitted by the Senate.)

In 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens — better known as Mark Twain — was born in Florida, Miss.

In 1900, Irish writer Oscar Wilde died in Paris at age 46.

In 1936, London’s famed Crystal Palace, constructed for the International Exhibition of 1851, was destroyed in a fire.

In 1939, the Russo-Finnish War began as Soviet troops invaded Finland.

In 1962, U Thant of Burma was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations, succeeding the late Dag Hammarskjold.

In 1966, the former British colony of Barbados became independent.

In 1981, the United States and the Soviet Union opened negotiations in Geneva aimed at reducing nuclear weapons in Europe.

In 1993, President Clinton signed into law the Brady bill, which requires a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases and background checks of prospective buyers.

Ten years ago: President Clinton became the first U.S. chief executive to visit Northern Ireland, where he implored Roman Catholics and Protestants alike not to surrender to the impulses of “old habits and hard grudges.”

Five years ago: Al Gore’s lawyers battled for his political survival in the Florida and U.S. Supreme Courts; meanwhile, GOP lawmakers in Tallahassee moved to award the presidency to George W. Bush in case the courts did not by appointing their own slate of electors.

One year ago: Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced his resignation. NAACP President Kweisi Mfume announced he was stepping down after a nearly nine-year tenure. President Bush tried to repair strained U.S.-Canada relations during a visit to Ottawa. “Jeopardy!” fans got to see Ken Jennings end his 74-game winning streak as he lost to real estate agent Nancy Zerg.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Gordon Parks is 93. Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. is 88. Actor Robert Guillaume is 78. TV personality and producer Dick Clark is 76. Radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy is 75. Country singer-recording executive Jimmy Bowen is 68. Movie director Ridley Scott is 68. Singer Rob Grill (The Grassroots) is 62. Movie writer-director Terrence Malick is 62. Singer Luther Ingram is 61. Rock musician Roger Glover (Deep Purple) is 60. Playwright David Mamet is 58. Actress Margaret Whitton is 55. Actor Mandy Patinkin is 53. Musician Shuggie Otis is 52. Singer June Pointer is 52. Country singer Jeannie Kendall is 51. Singer Billy Idol is 50. Rock musician John Ashton (The Psychedelic Furs) is 48. Comedian Colin Mochrie is 48. Football and baseball player Bo Jackson is 43. Rapper Jalil (Whodini) is 42. Actor-director Ben Stiller is 40. Actress Sandra Oh is 35. Country singer Mindy McCready is 30. Singer Clay Aiken is 27. Actress Elisha Cuthbert is 23. Actress Kaley Cuoco is 20.

Thought for Today: “No particular man is necessary to the state. We may depend on it that, if we provide the country with popular institutions, those institutions will provide it with great men.” — Thomas Babington Macaulay, English historian (1800-1859).

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