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Today in history: February 12

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

Today is Sunday, Feb. 12, the 43rd day of 2006. There are 322 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born in present-day Larue County, Ky.

On this date:
In 1554, Lady Jane Grey, who’d claimed the throne of England for nine days, and her husband, Guildford Dudley, were beheaded after being condemned for high treason.

In 1733, English colonists led by James Oglethorpe founded Savannah, Ga.

In 1870, women in the Utah Territory gained the right to vote.

In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded.

In 1912, Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, abdicated, marking the end of the Qing Dynasty.

In 1915, the cornerstone for the Lincoln Memorial was laid in Washington.

In 1924, George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” premiered in New York.

In 1968, “Soul on Ice” by Eldridge Cleaver was first published.

In 1973, the first release of American prisoners of war from the Vietnam conflict took place.

In 1999, the Senate acquitted President Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Ten years ago: Bob Dole eked out a victory in Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses, while Pat Buchanan came in a surprisingly strong second.

Five years ago: The NEAR spacecraft touched down on Eros, completing the first landing on an asteroid. Scientists published their first examinations of nearly all the human genetic code. A federal appeals court ruled the Internet service Napster had to prevent users from swapping copyrighted music without charge. A computer virus pretending to be a digital photo of tennis star Anna Kournikova overwhelmed e-mail servers in Europe and North America.

One year ago: Former presidential candidate Howard Dean was elected the national Democratic chairman during the party’s winter meeting. “The Gates,” a 16-day art exhibit created by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, debuted in New York’s Central Park with the unfurling of saffron-colored fabric banners suspended in 16-foot-high frames.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Franco Zeffirelli is 83. Actor Louis Zorich is 82. Baseball Hall-of-Fame sportscaster Joe Garagiola is 80. Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., is 76. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell is 72. Actor Joe Don Baker is 70. Author Judy Blume is 68. Rock musician Ray Manzarek (The Doors) is 67. Country singer Moe Bandy is 62. Actress Maud Adams is 61. Actor Cliff DeYoung is 61. Actor Michael Ironside is 56. Rock musician Steve Hackett is 56. Rock singer Michael McDonald is 54. Actress Joanna Kerns is 53. Actor-former talk show host Arsenio Hall is 51. Actress Christine Elise is 41. Actor Josh Brolin is 38. Singer Chynna Phillips is 38. Rock musician Jim Creeggan (Barenaked Ladies) is 36. Rhythm-and-blues musician Keri Lewis is 35. Actress Christina Ricci is 26.

Thought for Today: “Priests are no more necessary to religion than politicians to patriotism.” — John Haynes Holmes, American clergyman and reformer (1879-1964).