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Today in History - March 17

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day.

Today is Saturday, March 17, the 76th day of 2007. There are 289 days left in the year. This is St. Patrick’s Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 17, 1776, British forces evacuated Boston during the Revolutionary War.

On this date:

In A.D. 461 (or A.D. 493, according to other authorities), St. Patrick — the patron saint of Ireland — died in Saul.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt first used the term “muckrake” to describe crusading journalists in a speech to the Gridiron Club in Washington.

In 1910, the Camp Fire Girls organization was formed. (It was formally presented to the public on this date two years later.)

In 1941, the National Gallery of Art opened in Washington.

In 1950, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley announced they had created a new radioactive element, “californium.”

In 1956, comedian Fred Allen died in New York City at age 61.

In 1958, the U.S. Navy launched the Vanguard I satellite.

In 1966, a U.S. midget submarine located a missing hydrogen bomb which had fallen from an American bomber into the Mediterranean off Spain.

In 1969, Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel.

In 1992, 28 people were killed in the truck bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Ten years ago: Anthony Lake asked President Clinton to withdraw his nomination to be CIA director, saying the partisan confirmation process had “gone haywire.”

Five years ago: A grenade attack on a Protestant church in Islamabad, Pakistan, killed five people, including a U.S. Embassy employee and her 17-year-old daughter. After nearly a year’s run, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick left the Broadway hit musical “The Producers.” (They later returned for a limited engagement.)

One year ago: Federal regulators reported the deaths of two more women who had taken the abortion pill RU-486; Planned Parenthood, which had provided the pills to the women, said it would immediately stop disregarding the approved instructions for the drug’s use. Fashion designer Oleg Cassini died in Manhasset, N.Y., at age 92. Former Federal Reserve Chairman and former treasury secretary G. William Miller died at age 81.

Today’s Birthdays: The former national chairwoman of the NAACP, Myrlie Evers-Williams, is 74. Rock musician Paul Kantner is 66. Singer-songwriter Jim Weatherly is 64. Singer-songwriter John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful) is 63. Rock musician Harold Brown (War) is 61. Actor Patrick Duffy is 58. Actor Kurt Russell is 56. Country singer Susie Allanson is 55. Actress Lesley-Anne Down is

53. Country singer Paul Overstreet is 52. Actor Gary Sinise is 52. Actress Vicki Lewis is 47. Actor Casey Siemaszko is 46. Writer-director Rob Sitch is 45. Actor Rob Lowe is 43. Rock singer Billy Corgan is 40. Rock musician Van Conner (Screaming Trees) is

40. Actor Mathew St. Patrick (“Six Feet Under”) is 39. Actor Yanic Truesdale is 38. Rock musician Melissa Auf der Maur is 35. Rock musician Caroline Corr (The Corrs) is 34. Actress Marisa Coughlan is 33. Rapper Swifty (D12) is 32. Singer Stephen Gately is 31.

Thought for Today: “May the enemies of Ireland never eat bread nor drink whisky, but be tormented with itching without benefit of scratching.” — Traditional St. Patrick’s Day toast.