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Today in history: November 15

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

Today is Wednesday, Nov. 15, the 319th day of 2006. There are 46 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Two hundred years ago, on Nov. 15, 1806, explorer Zebulon Pike sighted the mountaintop now known as “Pikes Peak” in present-day Colorado.

On this date:
In 1777, the Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation, a precursor to the Constitution of the United States.

In 1889, Brazil’s monarchy was overthrown.

In 1926, the National Broadcasting Company debuted with a radio network of 24 stations.

In 1939, President Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington.

In 1948, William Lyon Mackenzie King retired as prime minister of Canada after 21 years; he was succeeded by Louis St. Laurent.

In 1966, the flight of Gemini 12 ended successfully as astronauts James A. Lovell and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. splashed down safely in the Atlantic.

In 1969, a quarter of a million protesters staged a peaceful demonstration in Washington against the Vietnam War.

In 1979, the British government publicly identified Sir Anthony Blunt as the “fourth man” of a Soviet spy ring that included Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Kim Philby.

In 1985, Britain and Ireland signed an accord giving Dublin an official consultative role in governing Northern Ireland.

In 1986, a government tribunal in Nicaragua convicted American Eugene Hasenfus of charges related to his role in delivering arms to Contra rebels, and sentenced him to 30 years in prison. (Hasenfus was pardoned a month later.)

Ten years ago: Texaco agreed to pay $176.1 million to settle a two-year-old race discrimination suit. Former State Department official Alger Hiss, who fell from grace in a Communist spy scandal, died in New York just four days after his 92nd birthday. Singer Michael Jackson married his plastic surgeon’s nurse, Debbie Rowe, in a ceremony in Sydney, Australia. (Rowe filed for divorce in 1999.)

Five years ago: President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to resolve their dispute over U.S. missile shield plans but pledged to fight terrorism and deepen U.S.-Russian ties as their summit, which began at the White House before shifting to Bush’s Texas ranch, came to a close.

One year ago: Israel and the Palestinians, under strong U.S. pressure, reached an agreement to open Gaza’s borders. Baseball players and owners agreed on a tougher steroids-testing policy. Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League MVP award. At the CMA Awards, Lee Ann Womack won three trophies, including album of the year for “There’s More Where That Came From.”

Today’s Birthdays: Judge Joseph Wapner is 87. Statesman Howard H. Baker Jr. is 81. Actor Ed Asner is 77. Actor John Kerr is 75. Singer Petula Clark is 74. Comedian Jack Burns is 73. Actress Joanna Barnes is 72. Actor Sam Waterston is 66. Pop singer Frida (ABBA) is 61. Actor Bob Gunton is 61. Director-actor James Widdoes is 53. Rock singer-producer Mitch Easter is 52. Actress Beverly D’Angelo is 52. CNN newsman John Roberts is 50. “Tonight Show” bandleader Kevin Eubanks is 49. Rapper E-40 is 39. Actress Rachel True is 37. Country singer Jack Ingram is 36. Actor Jonny Lee Miller is 34. Christian rock musician David Carr (Third Day) is 32. Rock singer-musician Chad Kroeger is 32. Actress Virginie Ledoyen is 30.

Thought for Today: “Psychology, which explains everything,/ Explains nothing,/ And we are still in doubt.” — Marianne Moore, American poet (1887-1972).