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Today in history: November 13

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

Today is Monday, Nov. 13, the 317th day of 2006. There are 48 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

Fifty years ago, on Nov. 13, 1956, the Supreme Court struck down laws calling for racial segregation on public city and state buses, almost a year after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man, sparking a boycott by blacks.

On this date:

In 1775, during the American Revolution, U.S. forces captured Montreal.

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to a friend, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

In 1856, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis was born in Louisville, Ky.

In 1927, the Holland Tunnel opened to the public, providing access between New York City and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River.

In 1942, the minimum draft age in the United States was lowered from 21 to 18.

In 1971, the U.S. space probe Mariner 9 went into orbit around Mars.

In 1974, Karen Silkwood, a technician and union activist at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron plutonium plant near Crescent, Okla., died in a car crash while on her way to meet a reporter.

In 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington.

In 1985, some 23,000 residents of Armero, Colombia, died when a gigantic mudslide buried the city.

In 1986, President Reagan publicly acknowledged that the U.S. had sent “defensive weapons and spare parts” to Iran in an attempt to improve relations, but denied the shipments were part of a deal aimed at freeing hostages in Lebanon.

Ten years ago: A grand jury in St. Petersburg, Fla., declined to indict police officer Jim Knight, who had fatally shot black motorist TyRon Lewis; the decision prompted angry mobs to return to the streets. A jury in Pittsburgh acquitted a suburban police officer, John Vojtas, in the death of black motorist Jonny Gammage. Sgt. Loren B. Taylor, a drill sergeant who’d had sex with three female recruits at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., was given five months in prison and a bad-conduct discharge in the first sentencing of the burgeoning Army sex scandal.

Five years ago: Afghan opposition fighters rolled into Kabul after Taliban troops slipped away under cover of darkness. Eight foreign aid workers — two Americans, two Australians and four Germans — held captive in Afghanistan for three months were freed by anti-Taliban fighters. President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin met at the White House. Bishop Wilton Gregory was elected the first black president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

One year ago: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Jerusalem, strongly rebuked Iran’s leadership, saying “no civilized nation” can call for the annihilation of another — a reference to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remark that Israel should be “wiped off the map.” An Iraqi woman arrested by Jordanian authorities confessed on television to trying to blow herself up with her husband in one of the three Nov. 9 suicide attacks in Amman. American Indian historian and activist Vine Deloria Jr. died at age 72.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Madeleine Sherwood is 84. Producer-director Garry Marshall is 72. Country singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard is 60. Actor Joe Mantegna is 59. Actress Sheila Frazier is 58. Actress Frances Conroy is 53. Musician Andrew Ranken (The Pogues) is 53. Actress-comedian Whoopi Goldberg is 51. Actor Chris Noth is 50. Actor Rex Linn (“CSI: Miami”) is 50. Actress Caroline Goodall is 47. Actor Neil Flynn (“Scrubs”) is 46. Rock musician Walter Kibby (Fishbone) is 42. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel is

39. Actor Steve Zahn is 38. Rock musician Nikolai Fraiture is 28.

Thought for Today: “If we like a man’s dream, we call him a reformer; if we don’t like his dream, we call him a crank.” — William Dean Howells, American author (1837-1920).