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Today in History - Feb. 22

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

Today is Thursday, Feb. 22, the 53rd day of 2007. There are 312 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 22, 1732, the first president of the United States, George Washington, was born at his parents’ plantation in the Virginia Colony.

On this date:
In 1819, Spain agreed to cede Florida to the U.S. under the Adams-Onis Treaty.

In 1857, Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, was born in London.

In 1857, German physicist Heinrich Hertz, the discoverer of radio waves for whom the unit of frequency is named, was born in Hamburg.

In 1889, President Grover Cleveland signed an omnibus bill to admit the Dakotas, Montana and Washington state to the Union.

In 1892, “Lady Windermere’s Fan” by Oscar Wilde was first performed, at London’s St. James’s Theater.

In 1935, it became illegal for airplanes to fly over the White House.

In 1967, more than 25,000 U.S. and South Vietnamese troops launched Operation Junction City, aimed at smashing a Vietcong stronghold near the Cambodian border.

In 1973, the U.S. and Communist China agreed to establish liaison offices.

In 1980, the U.S. Olympic hockey team upset the Soviets at Lake Placid, N.Y., 4-3. (The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.)

In 1987, pop artist Andy Warhol died at a New York City hospital at age 58; talk-show host David Susskind was found dead in his Manhattan hotel suite; he was 66.

Ten years ago: Cutbacks began under new welfare law limiting childless adults, under age 50 and able to work, to three months of food stamps in any three-year period. Albert Shanker, the leader of the American Federation of Teachers who championed public school reforms, died in New York at age 68.

Five years ago: Police in San Diego arrested David Westerfield in connection with the disappearance of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam. (Westerfield was later sentenced to death for Danielle’s murder.) The Angolan army and government announced the killing of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. Cartoon animator Chuck Jones died in Newport Beach, Calif., at age 89.

One year ago: Insurgents destroyed the golden dome of one of Iraq’s holiest Shiite shrines, the Askariya mosque in Samarra, setting off an unprecedented spasm of sectarian violence. Thieves stole $96 million from a Bank of England cash depot 30 miles southeast of London in Britain’s largest cash robbery. Eight workers at a Nebraska meatpacking plant came forward to claim a $365 million Powerball jackpot.

Today’s Birthdays: Announcer Don Pardo is 89. Actor Paul Dooley is 79. Hollywood “ghost singer” Marni Nixon is 77. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., is 75. Movie director Jonathan Demme is 63. Actor John Ashton is 59. Actress Miou-Miou is 57. Actress Julie Walters is 57. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Julius Erving is 57. Actor Kyle MacLachlan is 48. Actress-comedian Rachel Dratch is 41. Actress Jeri Ryan is 39. Actor Thomas Jane is 38. Actress-singer Lea Salonga is 36. Actor Jose Solano is 36. Tennis player Michael Chang is 35. Actress Drew Barrymore is 32. Actress Liza Huber is 32. Singer James Blunt is 30. Actor Daniel E. Smith is 17.

Thought for Today: “Authority without wisdom is like a heavy ax without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.” — Anne Bradstreet, American poet (1612-1672).