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Today in history: February 21

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

Today is Tuesday, Feb. 21, the 52nd day of 2006. There are 313 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 21, 1965, former Black Muslim leader Malcolm X, 39, was shot to death in New York by assassins identified as Black Muslims.

On this date:
In 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated.

In 1916, the World War I Battle of Verdun began in France.

In 1925, The New Yorker magazine made its debut.

In 1947, Edwin H. Land publicly demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which could produce a black-and-white photograph in 60 seconds.

In 1972, President Nixon began his historic visit to China as he and his wife, Pat, arrived in Shanghai.

In 1973, Israeli fighter planes shot down a Libyan Airlines jet over the Sinai Desert, killing more than 100 people.

In 1975, former Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman were sentenced to two-and-a-half to eight years in prison for their roles in the Watergate cover-up.

In 1986, Larry Wu-tai Chin, the first American found guilty of spying for China, killed himself in his Virginia jail cell.

In 1995, Chicago adventurer Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon, landing in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada.

In 2000, consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced his entry into the presidential race, bidding for the nomination of the Green Party.

Ten years ago: The Space Telescope Science Institute announced that photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope confirmed the existence of a “black hole” equal to the mass of 2 billion suns in a galaxy some 30 million light years away.

Five years ago: The Supreme Court ruled that state workers cannot use an important federal disability-rights law to win money damages for on-the-job discrimination. At the Grammy Awards, Steely Dan won album of the year for “Two Against Nature,” plus best pop album and best pop performance by a duo or group for “Cousin Dupree”; controversial rapper Eminem won three awards, all in rap categories.

One year ago: President Bush, in Belgium for a NATO summit, scolded Russia for backsliding on democracy and urged Mideast allies to take difficult steps for peace. Israel freed 500 Palestinian prisoners in a goodwill gesture. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush wrapped up their tour of tsunami-ravaged nations with a visit to the Maldives.

Today’s Birthdays: Fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy is 79. Movie director Bob Rafelson is 73. Actress Rue McClanahan is 71. Actor Gary Lockwood is 69. Actor-director Richard Beymer is 67. Actor Peter McEnery is 66. Film/music company executive David Geffen is 63. Actor Alan Rickman is 60. Actress Tyne Daly is 60. Tricia Nixon Cox is 60. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, is 59. Rock musician Jerry Harrison (The Heads) is 57. Actor William Petersen is 53. Actor Kelsey Grammer is 51. Country singer Mary-Chapin Carpenter is 48. Actor Jack Coleman is 48. Actor Christopher Atkins is 45. Rock singer Ranking Roger is 45. Actor William Baldwin is 43. Rock musician Michael Ward is 39. Blues musician Corey Harris is 37. Country singer Eric Heatherly is 36. Rock musician Eric Wilson (Sublime) is 36. Rock musician Tad Kinchla (Blues Traveler) is 33. Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt is 27. Singer Charlotte Church is 20.

Thought for Today: “In scandal, as in robbery, the receiver is always as bad as the thief.” — Lord Chesterfield, English author and statesman (1694-1773).