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Today in History - Feb. 10

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

Today is Saturday, Feb. 10, the 41st day of 2007. There are 324 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 10, 1967, the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, dealing with presidential disability and succession, went into effect as Minnesota and Nevada ratified it.

On this date:

In 1763, Britain, Spain and France signed the Treaty of Paris, ending the Seven Years’ War.

In 1840, Britain’s Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

In 1841, Upper Canada and Lower Canada were proclaimed united under an Act of Union passed by the British Parliament.

In 1942, the former French liner Normandie capsized in New York Harbor a day after it caught fire while being refitted for the U.S. Navy.

In 1949, Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman” opened at Broadway’s Morosco Theater with Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman.

In 1962, the Soviet Union exchanged captured American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers for Rudolph Ivanovich Abel, a Soviet spy held by the United States.

In 1968, Peggy Fleming of the United States won the gold medal in ladies’ figure skating at the Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, France.

In 1981, eight people were killed, 198 injured, when a fire set by a busboy broke out at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel-casino.

In 1989, Ron Brown was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, becoming the first black person to head a major U.S. political party.

In 2005, playwright Arthur Miller died in Roxbury, Conn., at age 89 on the 56th anniversary of the Broadway opening of his “Death of a Salesman.”

Ten years ago: A civil jury heaped $25 million in punitive damages on O.J. Simpson for the slayings of his ex-wife and her friend, on top of $8.5 million in compensatory damages awarded earlier. The Air Force suspended all training flights over the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast after two new reports of close encounters between F-16s and commercial aircraft over New Mexico and Texas. The Army suspended Sergeant Major of the Army Gene McKinney, following sexual misconduct allegations. (McKinney was later acquitted of most charges but convicted of obstructing justice.)

Five years ago: Snowboarder Kelly Clark won America’s first gold at the Salt Lake City Olympics in women’s halfpipe. Claudia Pechstein of Germany shattered her own world record in the 3,000-meter speedskating event, crossing the line in 3:57.70. The Western Conference defeated the Eastern Conference, 135-120, in the NBA All-Star Game. Former U.N. ambassador Vernon A. Walters died in West Palm Beach, Fla., at age 85. Convict-author Jack Henry Abbott committed suicide in his cell; he was 58.

One year ago: Former federal disaster chief Michael Brown told a Senate committee he had alerted the White House to how bad things were in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and agreed with senators who said he’d been made a scapegoat for government failures. The Winter Olympics opened in Turin, Italy, with cross-country skier and gold medalist Stefania Belmondo lighting the caldron. Dr. Norman Shumway, who performed the first successful heart transplant in the U.S., died in Palo Alto, Calif., at age 83.

Today’s Birthdays: Opera singer Leontyne Price is 80. Actor Robert Wagner is 77. Singer Roberta Flack is 68. Singer Jimmy Merchant (Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers) is 67. Olympic gold-medal swimmer Mark Spitz is 57. Country singer Lionel Cartwright is 47. Movie director Alexander Payne (“Sideways”) is 46. ABC’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos is 46. Actress Laura Dern is 40. Country singer Dude Mowrey is 35. Actress Elizabeth Banks is 33. Pop singer Rosanna Taverez (Eden’s Crush) is 30. Actress Emma Roberts is 16.

Thought for Today: “Morality is moral only when it is voluntary.” — Lincoln Steffens, American journalist (1866-1936).