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Today in history: February 24

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Feb. 24, the 55th day of 2006. There are 310 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 24, 1868, the House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson following his attempted dismissal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton; Johnson was later acquitted by the Senate.

On this date:
In 1821, Mexico declared its independence from Spain.

In 1863, Arizona was organized as a territory.

In 1903, the United States signed an agreement acquiring a naval station at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

In 1920, a fledgling German political party held its first meeting of importance in Munich; it became known as the Nazi Party, and its chief spokesman was Adolf Hitler.

In 1942, the Voice of America went on the air for the first time.

In 1945, American soldiers liberated the Philippine capital of Manila from Japanese control during World War II.

In 1955, the Cole Porter musical “Silk Stockings” opened at the Imperial Theater on Broadway.

In 1980, the U.S. hockey team defeated Finland, 4-2, to clinch the gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.

In 1981, Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Britain’s Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer.

In 1981, a jury in White Plains, N.Y., found Jean Harris guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of “Scarsdale Diet” author Dr. Herman Tarnower.

Ten years ago: Steve Forbes won the Delaware presidential primary. Cuba downed two small American planes that it claimed were violating Cuban airspace.

Five years ago: In an amicable first meeting held in Jerusalem, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov pledged a constructive approach to dealing with Iraq, missile defenses and other points of policy discord. Fugitive financier Marc Rich, whose 11th-hour pardon by former President Clinton caused a wave of controversy, spoke out for the first time, describing the pardon as a “humanitarian act.” Mathematician and computer scientist Claude Shannon, whose theories about binary code became the basis for modern mass communications networks, died in Medford, Mass., at age 84.

One year ago: Pope John Paul II underwent an operation to insert a tube in his throat to relieve his breathing problems, hours after he was rushed back to the hospital for the second time in a month with flu-like symptoms.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Abe Vigoda is 85. Actor Steven Hill is 84. Actor-singer Dominic Chianese is 75. Movie composer Michel Legrand is 74. Actor James Farentino is 68. Actor Barry Bostwick is 61. Actor Edward James Olmos is 59. Singer-writer-producer Rupert Holmes is 59. Actress Debra Jo Rupp is 55. Actress Helen Shaver is 55. News anchor Paula Zahn is 50. Country singer Sammy Kershaw is 48. Singer Michelle Shocked is 44. Movie director Todd Field is 42. Actor Billy Zane is 40. Actress Bonnie Somerville is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Brandon Brown (Mista) is 23.

Thought for Today: “It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.” — Alfred Adler, Austrian psychoanalyst (1870-1937).