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Today in history: June 20

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

Today is Tuesday, June 20, the 171st day of 2006. There are 194 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 20, 1893, a jury in New Bedford, Mass., found Lizzie Borden innocent of the ax murders of her father and stepmother.

On this date:
In 1756, a group of British soldiers was imprisoned in India in a suffocating cell that gained notoriety as the “Black Hole of Calcutta”; most died. (The exact circumstances of this incident — such as the number of prisoners, originally put at 146 — are a matter of historical dispute.)

In 1782, Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States.

In 1837, Queen Victoria acceded to the British throne following the death of her uncle, King William IV.

In 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state.

In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the U.S. cruiser Charleston captured the Spanish-ruled island of Guam.

In 1943, race-related rioting erupted in Detroit; federal troops were sent in two days later to quell the violence that resulted in more than 30 deaths.

In 1947, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was shot dead at the Beverly Hills, Calif., mansion of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, apparently at the order of mob associates.

In 1963, the United States and Soviet Union signed an agreement to set up a “hot line” between the two superpowers.

In 1967, boxer Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. (Ali’s conviction was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court).

In 1979, ABC News correspondent Bill Stewart was shot to death in Managua, Nicaragua, by a member of President Anastasio Somoza’s national guard.

Ten years ago: The Clinton administration announced it would veto the re-election of U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Westinghouse Electric agreed to buy Infinity Broadcasting for $3.9 billion.

Five years ago: Houston resident Andrea Yates drowned her five children in the family bathtub, then called police. (Yates was later convicted of murder, but had her conviction overturned; she faces a retrial.) American Lori Berenson was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Peruvian court for collaborating with leftist guerrillas. Billy Collins was named the 11th U.S. poet laureate.

One year ago: During a joint news conference with European leaders, President Bush said he was determined to complete the mission of establishing democracy in Iraq because the world would be a better place for it. A suicide car bomber killed at least 15 traffic policemen outside police headquarters in Irbil, Iraq. Kuwait’s first female Cabinet member (Massouma al-Mubarak) took the oath of office over the shouts of Muslim fundamentalist and tribal lawmakers opposed to women in politics.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Olympia Dukakis is 75. Actor James Tolkan is 75. Actor Danny Aiello is 73. Actor John Mahoney is 66. Movie director Stephen Frears is 65. Singer-songwriter Brian Wilson is 64. Actor John McCook is 61. Singer Anne Murray is 61. TV personality Bob Vila is 60. Musician Andre Watts is 60. Actress Candy Clark is 59. Producer Tina Sinatra is 58. Rhythm-and-blues singer Lionel Richie is 57. Actor John Goodman is 54. Rock musician Michael Anthony (Van Halen) is 52. Musician John Taylor is 46. Rock musician Mark DeGliantoni is 44. Rock musician Murphy Karges (Sugar Ray) is 39. Actress Nicole Kidman is 39. Movie director Robert Rodriguez is 38. Actor Josh Lucas is 35.

Thought for Today: “‘History,’ Stephen said, ‘is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”’ — From “Ulysses,” by James Joyce, Irish poet (1882-1941).