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Today in History - Feb. 15

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

Today is Thursday, Feb. 15, the 46th day of 2007. There are 319 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 15, 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine mysteriously blew up in Havana Harbor, killing more than 260 crew members and bringing the United States closer to war with Spain.

On this date:
In 1564, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa.

In 1764, the city of St. Louis was established by Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau.

In 1820, American suffragist Susan B. Anthony was born in Adams, Mass.

In 1879, President Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court.

In 1933, President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt in Miami that mortally wounded Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak; gunman Giuseppe Zangara was executed more than four weeks later, on March 20.

In 1942, the British colony Singapore surrendered to the Japanese during World War II.

In 1961, 73 people, including an 18-member U.S. figure skating team en route to Czechoslovakia, were killed in the crash of a Sabena Airlines Boeing 707 in Belgium.

In 1965, Canada’s new maple-leaf flag was unfurled in ceremonies in Ottawa.

In 1986, the Philippines National Assembly proclaimed Ferdinand E. Marcos president for another six years, following an election marked by allegations of fraud. (Marcos ended up being ousted from power.)

In 1989, the Soviet Union announced that the last of its troops had left Afghanistan, after more than nine years of military intervention.

Ten years ago: North Korean defector Lee Han-young was shot and mortally wounded in South Korea, three days after another North Korean defected in Beijing. Fourteen-year-old Tara Lipinski upset Michelle Kwan at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Nashville, Tenn., becoming the youngest gold medalist at nationals.

Five years ago: President Bush approved Nevada’s Yucca Mountain as the site for long-term disposal of thousands of tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste. Skating and Olympics officials awarded Canadian pairs figure skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier a gold medal, while letting the Russian pair, Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, keep their gold medal, as a way to resolve a judging controversy that had dominated the Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Broadcast journalist Howard K. Smith died in Bethesda, Md., at age 87.

One year ago: Vice President Dick Cheney accepted blame for accidentally shooting a hunting companion, calling it “one of the worst days of my life,” but was defiantly unapologetic in a Fox News Channel interview about not publicly disclosing the accident until the next day. Testifying before the Senate, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff acknowledged delayed aid and fumbled coordination in the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Kevin McCarthy is 93. Actor Allan Arbus is 89. Country singer Hank Locklin is 89. Former Illinois Congressman John Anderson is 85. Comedian Harvey Korman is 80. Actress Claire Bloom is 76. Author Susan Brownmiller is 72. Songwriter Brian Holland is 66. Rock musician Mick Avory (The Kinks) is 63. Jazz musician Henry Threadgill is 63. Actress Jane Seymour is 56. Singer Melissa Manchester is 56. Actress Lynn Whitfield is 54. “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening is 53. Model Janice Dickinson is 52. Actor Christopher McDonald is 52. Reggae singer Ali Campbell (UB40) is 48. Actor Joseph R. Gannascoli is 48. Musician Mikey Craig (Culture Club) is 47. Country singer Michael Reynolds (Pinmonkey) is 43. Actor Michael Easton is 40. Actress Renee O’Connor is 36. Actress Sarah Wynter is 34. Rock singer Brandon Boyd (Incubus) is 31. Actress Ashley Lyn Cafagna-Tesoro is 24.

Thought for Today: “A definition is no proof.” — William Pinkney, American diplomat (1764-1822).