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Today in history: November 3

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

Today is Friday, Nov. 3, the 307th day of 2006. There are 58 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Twenty years ago, on Nov. 3, 1986, the Iran-Contra affair began to come to light as Ash-Shiraa, a pro-Syrian Lebanese magazine, first broke the story of U.S. arms sales to Iran.

On this date:
In 1839, the first Opium War between China and Britain broke out.

In 1868, Republican Ulysses S. Grant won the presidential election over Democrat Horatio Seymour.

In 1896, Republican William McKinley defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan for the presidency.

In 1903, Panama proclaimed its independence from Colombia.

In 1908, Republican William Howard Taft was elected president, outpolling William Jennings Bryan.

In 1936, President Roosevelt won a landslide election victory over Republican challenger Alfred M. “Alf” Landon.

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 2, the second manmade satellite, into orbit; on board was a dog named “Laika” who was sacrificed in the experiment.

In 1964, President Johnson soundly defeated Republican challenger Barry Goldwater to win a White House term in his own right.

In 1970, Salvador Allende was inaugurated as president of Chile.

In 1979, five radicals were killed when gunfire erupted during an anti-Ku Klux Klan demonstration in Greensboro, N.C., after a caravan of Klansmen and neo-Nazis had driven into the area.

Ten years ago: American entrepreneur Paul Tatum was shot to death on the steps of a Moscow subway station in what his relatives suspected was a contract slaying by the Russian mafia; the case remains unsolved.

Five years ago: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with his Russian counterpart in Moscow to discuss nuclear arsenal cuts, American plans for a missile defense system, and U.S.-Russian cooperation in the campaign against terror. The Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees 15-2 to tie the World Series at three games apiece.

One year ago: Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, pleaded not guilty to a five-count felony indictment in the CIA leak case. The European Union said it would investigate reports the CIA had set up secret jails in Eastern Europe to interrogate terror suspects. Merck & Co. won its first court battle over its Vioxx painkiller when a New Jersey state jury found the drug maker had properly warned consumers about the risks of the medication.

Today’s Birthdays: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Bob Feller is 88. Actress Lois Smith is 76. Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis is 73. Actor-dancer Ken Berry is 73. Movie composer John Barry is 73. Actor Shadoe Stevens is 60. Singer Lulu is 58. Actor Mike Evans is 57. Comedian-actress Roseanne Barr is 54. Actress Kate Capshaw is 53. Comedian Dennis Miller is 53. Actress Kathy Kinney is 53. Singer Adam Ant is 52.

Thought for Today: “Among these things but one thing seems certain — that nothing certain exists, and that nothing is more pitiable or more presumptuous than man.” — Pliny the Elder, Roman scholar (A.D. 23-A.D. 79).