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Today in History — September 20

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

Today is Thursday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2007. There are 102 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 20, 1519, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan and his crew set out from Spain on five ships on a voyage to find a western passage to the Spice Islands in Indonesia. (Magellan was killed en route, but one of his ships eventually circled the world.)

On this date:

In 1857, Delhi, India, fell to British forces

In 1870, Italian troops took control of the Papal States, leading to the unification of Italy.

In 1881, Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st president of the United States, succeeding the assassinated James A. Garfield.

In 1947, former New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia died.

In 1957, Finnish composer Jean Sibelius died.

In 1957, “M Squad,” starring Lee Marvin, premiered on NBC-TV.

In 1962, black student James Meredith was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Gov. Ross R. Barnett. (Meredith was later admitted.)

In 1967, the Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 was christened by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in Clydebank, Scotland.

In 1973, in their so-called “battle of the sexes,” tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome.

In 1984, a suicide car bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy annex in north Beirut, killing a dozen people.

Ten years ago: President Bill Clinton’s attorneys insisted no laws were broken as it was disclosed that Attorney General Janet Reno had taken a first step toward seeking a special prosecutor to investigate the president’s 1996 fund-raising activities.

Five years ago: President Bush appealed to a reluctant Russian President Vladimir Putin to back a new U.N. resolution that would threaten Iraq with war if it did not disarm; Russian officials indicated there might be room for compromise. William Rosenberg, founder of the Dunkin’ Donuts chain, died in Mashpee, Mass., at age 86.

One year ago: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez repeatedly referred to President Bush as “the devil” during a speech to the United Nations. The African Union announced it would extend the mandate of a peacekeeping force in Darfur. Nationalist Shinzo Abe became head of Japan’s ruling party by a landslide. Oscar-winning cinematographer Sven Nykvist died in Stockholm, Sweden, at age 83.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Gogi Grant is 83. Actress-comedian Anne Meara is 78. Actress Sophia Loren is 73. Rock musician Chuck Panozzo is 60. Hockey player Guy LaFleur is 56. Jazz musician Peter White is 53. Actress Betsy Brantley is 52. Actor Gary Cole is 51. Actress Kristen Johnston is 40. Rock singers Matthew Nelson and Gunnar Nelson are 40. Rock musician Ben Shepherd is 39. Rock musician Rick Woolstenhulme (Lifehouse) is 28. Rapper Yung Joc is 25.

Thought for Today: “Men hate those to whom they have to lie.” — Victor Hugo, French author (1802-1885).