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Today in history: November 12

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

Today is Sunday, Nov. 12, the 316th day of 2006. There are 49 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 12, 1942, the World War II naval Battle of Guadalcanal began. (The Allies ended up winning a major victory over the Japanese.)

On this date:

In 1815, American suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in Johnstown, N.Y.

In 1920, Major League Baseball got its first “czar” as Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was elected commissioner.

In 1927, Josef Stalin became the undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union as Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party.

In 1929, Grace Kelly — the future movie star and Princess of Monaco — was born in Philadelphia.

In 1948, former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and several other World War II Japanese leaders were sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal.

In 1977, the city of New Orleans elected its first black mayor, Ernest “Dutch” Morial.

In 1982, Yuri V. Andropov was elected to succeed the late Leonid I. Brezhnev as general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee.

In 1985, Xavier Suarez was elected Miami’s first Cuban-American mayor.

In 1990, Japanese Emperor Akihito formally assumed the Chrysanthemum Throne.

In 2004, a jury in Redwood City, Calif., convicted Scott Peterson of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, and dumping her body in San Francisco Bay. (Peterson, who maintains his innocence, was later sentenced to death.)

Ten years ago: A Saudi Boeing 747 jetliner collided shortly after takeoff from New Delhi, India, with a Kazak Ilyushin-76 cargo plane, killing 349 people. In Pontiac, Mich., Jonathan Schmitz, a guest on “The Jenny Jones Show,” was convicted of second-degree murder for shooting Scott Amedure, a gay man who’d revealed a crush on Schmitz during a taping of the program. (Schmitz was later sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison.)

Five years ago: An American Airlines Airbus A300-600, en route from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to the Dominican Republic, crashed after takeoff, killing 265 people. Afghan opposition forces broke through Taliban lines outside Kabul. Fashion editor Carrie Donovan died in New York at age 73.

One year ago: A U.S.-backed summit in Bahrain meant to promote political freedom and economic change in the Middle East ended without agreement, a blow to President Bush’s goals for the troubled region. Jordan acknowledged for the first time that al-Qaida in Iraq had used three foreign suicide bombers to attack Amman hotels three days earlier, killing 60 victims.

Today’s Birthdays: Rhythm-and-blues singer Ruby Nash Curtis (Ruby and the Romantics) is 67. Actor-playwright Wallace Shawn is

63. Singer Brian Hyland is 63. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jimmy Hayes (Persuasions) is 63. Rock musician Booker T. Jones (Booker T. & the MGs) is 62. Singer-songwriter Neil Young is 61. Rock musician Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser (Blue Oyster Cult) is 59. Country singer Barbara Fairchild is 56. Actress-talk show host Megan Mullally is 48. Olympic gold medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci is 45. Rock musician David Ellefson is 42. Actor Sam Lloyd is 39. Figure skater Tonya Harding is 36. Actress Radha Mitchell is 33. Actress Tamala Jones is 32. Actress Angela Watson is 32. Singer Tevin Campbell is 30. Actress Ashley Williams is 28. Actor Ryan Gosling is 26. Actress Anne Hathaway is 24. Pop singer Omarion is 21. Actress Macey Cruthird (“Hope and Faith”) is 14.

Thought for Today: “It’s all right to have a train of thoughts, if you have a terminal.” — Richard R. Bowker, American publisher (1848-1933).