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Today in History — September 29

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

Today is Saturday, Sept. 29, the 272nd day of 2007. There are 93 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 29, 1978, Pope John Paul I was found dead in his Vatican apartment just over a month after becoming head of the Roman Catholic Church.

On this date:

In 1789, the U.S. War Department established a regular army with a strength of several hundred men.

In 1829, London’s reorganized police force, which became known as Scotland Yard, went on duty.

In 1907, the foundation stone was laid for Washington National Cathedral, which wasn’t fully completed until 1990.

In 1907, “singing cowboy” and baseball executive Gene Autry was born in Tioga, Texas.

In 1938, British, French, German and Italian leaders signed the Munich Agreement, which was aimed at appeasing Adolf Hitler by allowing Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland.

In 1957, the San Francisco-bound New York Giants played their last game at the Polo Grounds, losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-1.

In 1957, the Brooklyn Dodgers played their last game before moving to Los Angeles, losing to the Phillies 2-1 in Philadelphia.

In 1967, author Carson McCullers died in Nyack, N.Y., at age 50.

In 1979, Pope John Paul II began the first papal visit to Ireland as he arrived for a three-day tour.

In 1982, Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide claimed the first of seven victims in the Chicago area. (To date, the case remains unsolved.)

Ten years ago: Oklahoma City bombing defendant Terry Nichols went on trial in the same courtroom in Denver where Timothy McVeigh was convicted and sentenced to die. (Nichols was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy, but acquitted of murder and weapons-related counts; he was sentenced to life in prison.)

Five years ago: Israel bowed to U.N. demands and U.S. pressure, pulling troops and tanks out through the barbed wire encircling Yasser Arafat’s West Bank headquarters. West Coast longshoremen were ordered off their jobs for a second time in a costly labor dispute with shipping lines. Europe beat the Americans to win the Ryder Cup.

One year ago: U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., resigned after being confronted with sexually explicit computer messages he’d sent to former House pages. A Gol Airlines flight crashed in the Brazilian jungle after clipping a private jet, killing all 154 people aboard. A Rhode Island nightclub owner was sentenced to four years in prison and his brother to probation, angering relatives of the 100 people who died in a 2003 fire at their club.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Lizabeth Scott is 85. Actor Steve Forrest is 83. Actress Anita Ekberg is 76. Actor Eddie Barth is 76. Writer-director Robert Benton is 75. Singer Jerry Lee Lewis is 72. Actor Ian McShane is 65. Jazz musician Jean-Luc Ponty is 65. Lech Walesa, the former president of Poland, is 64. Television-film composer Mike Post is 63. Actress Patricia Hodge is 61. TV personality Bryant Gumbel is 59. Rock singer-musician Mark Farner is 59. Rock musician Mike Pinera is 59. Country singer Alvin Crow is 57. Actor Drake Hogestyn is 54. Singer Suzzy Roche (The Roches) is 51. Comedian-actor Andrew “Dice” Clay is 50. Rock singer John Payne (Asia) is 49. Actor Roger Bart is 45. Singer-musician Les Claypool is 44. Actress Jill Whelan is 41. Rock musician Brad Smith (Blind Melon) is 39. Rhythm-and-blues singer Devante Swing (Jodeci) is 38. Country singer Brad Cotter (“Nashville Star”) is 37. Actress Emily Lloyd is 37. Actress Natasha Gregson Wagner is 37. Actress Rachel Cronin is 36. Country musician Danick Dupelle (Emerson Drive) is 34. Country singer Katie McNeill (3 of Hearts) is 25.

Thought for Today: “There’s nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.” — Carson McCullers, American author (1917-1967).