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Today in history: February 11

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

On Feb. 11, 1945, President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement during World War II.

On this date:
In 1812, Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a re-districting law favoring his party— giving rise to the term “gerrymandering.”

In 1847, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio.

In 1858, a French girl, Bernadette Soubirous, claimed for the first time to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary near Lourdes.

In 1861, President-elect Lincoln departed Springfield, Illinois, for Washington.

In 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.

In 1937, a sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.

In 1972, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company and Life magazine canceled plans to publish what had 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: A day after losing to an IBM computer dubbed “Deep Blue,” world chess champion Garry Kasparov rebounded to defeat the machine and even their six-game series in Philadelphia at one victory apiece.

Five years ago: Two space commanders opened the door to Destiny, the American-made science laboratory attached the day before to the international space station. The East NBA All-Stars stunned the West squad, 111-to-110. Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh was demolished to clear the way for new separate baseball and football stadiums nearby.

One year ago: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made an unannounced visit to Iraq, where he observed Iraqi security forces and declared “there’s no question progress has been made” in preparing the nation for building a new government. CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan quit amid a furor over remarks he’d made about journalists being targeted by the U.S. military in Iraq. Samuel W. Alderson, inventor of crash test dummies, died in Marina Del Rey, California, at age 90.

Today’s Birthdays: Author Sidney Sheldon is 89. Former Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen is 85. Actor Leslie Nielsen is 80. Actor Conrad Janis is 78. Actress Tina Louise is 72. Actor Burt Reynolds is 70. Songwriter Gerry Goffin is 67. Singer Bobby “Boris” Pickett is 66. Bandleader Sergio Mendes is 65. Rhythm-and-blues singer Otis Clay is 64. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt is 55. Actor Philip Anglim is 53. Actress Catherine Hickland is 50. Actress Carey Lowell is 45. Singer Sheryl Crow is 44. Actress Jennifer Aniston is 37. Actor Damian Lewis is 35. Singer D’Angelo is 32. Actor Brice Beckham is 30. Rock M-C/vocalist Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) is 29. Singer-actress Brandy is 27. Actor Matthew Lawrence is 26. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kelly Rowland (Destiny’s Child) is 25. Actress Q’orianka Kilcher is 16. Actor Taylor Lautner is 14.

Thought for Today: “What we respect we always do, but what we do not respect we ignore.”— Plato ( ? -347 B.C.).