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Today in History - March 2

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

Today is Friday, March 2, the 61st day of 2007. There are 304 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 2, 1877, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential election over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, even though Tilden had won the popular vote.

On this date:
In 1793, the first president of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, was born near Lexington, Va.

In 1807, Congress outlawed the importing of slaves to the United States, effective the following year.

In 1836, the Republic of Texas formally declared its independence from Mexico.

In 1899, Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state was established.

In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship as President Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act.

In 1933, the motion picture “King Kong” had its world premiere in New York.

In 1939, Roman Catholic Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected pope on his 63rd birthday; he took the name Pius XII.

In 1943, the World War II Battle of the Bismarck Sea began; U.S. and Australian warplanes were able to inflict heavy damage on a Japanese convoy.

In 1965, the movie version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical “The Sound of Music” had its world premiere at New York’s Rivoli Theater.

In 1977, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a strict code of ethics.

Ten years ago: It was revealed that Vice President Gore had raised millions of dollars for the 1996 campaign through direct telephone solicitations, and that some of the calls were made on special phones installed in government buildings for that purpose.

Five years ago: Eleven Israelis were killed in a Palestinian suicide bombing in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. Rioting spread as the death toll in India’s religious strife reached 408.

One year ago: President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a landmark civilian nuclear cooperation deal in New Delhi. A suicide attacker rammed an explosives-packed car into American diplomat David Foy’s car in Karachi, Pakistan, killing Foy and three others. The Senate voted to renew the USA Patriot Act. “Killer nurse” Charles Cullen, who’d killed at least 29 patients, was sentenced in Somerville, N.J., to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Jennifer Jones is 88. Bluegrass singer-musician Doc Watson is 84. Actor John Cullum is 77. Author Tom Wolfe is 77. Former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev is 76. Actress Barbara Luna is 68. Actor Jon Finch is 66. Author John Irving is 65. Singer Lou Reed is 65. Actress Cassie Yates is 56. Actress Laraine Newman is 55. Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., is 54. Singer Jay Osmond is 52. Pop musician John Cowsill (The Cowsills) is 51. Tennis player Kevin Curren is 49. Country singer Larry Stewart (Restless Heart) is 48. Rock singer Jon Bon Jovi is 45. Actor Daniel Craig is 39. Rock musician Casey (Jimmie’s Chicken Shack) is 31. Rock singer Chris Martin (Coldplay) is 30. Actress Heather McComb is 30. Actress Bryce Dallas Howard is 26. Actor Robert Iler (“The Sopranos”) is 22.

Thought for Today: “Nothing ever really sets human nature free, but self-control.” — Phyllis Bottome, English writer (1884-1963).