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Today in History — September 15

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

Today is Saturday, Sept. 15, the 258th day of 2007. There are 107 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 15, 1789, the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs was renamed the Department of State.

On this date:

In 1776, British forces occupied New York City during the American Revolution.

In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr was acquitted of a misdemeanor charge two weeks after he was found innocent of treason.

In 1821, independence from Spain was proclaimed for Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

In 1857, William Howard Taft — who would serve as president of the United States and as U.S. chief justice — was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews of their citizenship.

In 1940, during the Battle of Britain in World War II, the tide turned as the Luftwaffe sustained heavy losses inflicted by the Royal Air Force.

In 1942, during World War II, the USS Wasp was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine; the U.S. Navy ended up sinking the badly damaged aircraft carrier.

In 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev arrived in the U.S. to begin a 13-day visit.

In 1963, four black girls were killed when a bomb went off during Sunday services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. (Three Ku Klux Klansmen were eventually convicted for their roles in the blast.)

In 1982, Iran’s former foreign minister, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, was executed after he was convicted of plotting against the government.

Ten years ago: Two of the nation’s most popular diet drugs — dexfenfluramine and fenfluramine — were pulled off the market because of new evidence they could seriously damage patients’ hearts. Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld gave up his battle to be U.S. ambassador to Mexico. The IRA-allied Sinn Fein party entered Northern Ireland’s peace talks for the first time.

Five years ago: Opposition parties swept Macedonia’s ruling coalition from power in the nation’s first elections since the 2001 armed uprising.

One year ago: Ford Motor Co. took drastic steps to remold itself into a smaller, more competitive company, slashing thousands of jobs and shuttering two additional plants. U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, agreed to plead guilty to two criminal charges in the congressional corruption probe spawned by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Officials announced the death of Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci in Florence at age 76.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-director Jackie Cooper is 85. Actor Forrest Compton is 82. Comedian Norm Crosby is 80. Actor Henry Darrow is 74. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Gaylord Perry is 69. Football Hall-of-Famer Merlin Olsen is 67. Opera singer Jessye Norman is 62. Actor Tommy Lee Jones is 61. Movie director Oliver Stone is 61. Rock musician Mitch Dorge (Crash Test Dummies) is 47. Football Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino is 46. Actor Danny Nucci is 39. Rap DJ Kay Gee is 38. Rock musician Allen Shellenberger (Lit) is 38. Actor Josh Charles is 36. Singer Ivette Sosa (Eden’s Crush) is 31. Actress Amy Davidson is 28. Britain’s Prince Henry of Wales is 23.

Thought for Today: “In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900).