Today in history: Feb. 11

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Feb. 11, the 42nd day of 2005. There are 323 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:
On Feb. 11, 1945, President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement during World War II.

On this date:
In 1812, Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting law favoring his party — giving rise to the term “gerrymandering.”

In 1847, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio.

In 1861, President-elect Lincoln departed Springfield, Ill., for Washington.

In 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.

In 1937, a sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.

In 1972, McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. and Life magazine canceled plans to publish what had turned out to be a fake autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.

In 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran.

In 1986, Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky was released by the Soviet Union after nine years of captivity as part of an East-West prisoner exchange.

In 1989, the Rev. Barbara C. Harris became the first woman consecrated as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, in a ceremony held in Boston.

In 1990, South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison.

Ten years ago: The space shuttle Discovery landed at Cape Canaveral, Fla., ending a historic rendezvous mission with Russia’s Mir space station. President Clinton, in his weekly radio address, threatened to veto any attempt by Republicans to scrap plans to put 100,000 additional police officers on the streets.

Five years ago: The space shuttle Endeavour thundered away from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a mission to map the world as never before. Britain stripped Northern Ireland’s Protestant-Catholic government of power in a bid to prevent its collapse over the IRA’s refusal to disarm. French movie director Roger Vadim died in Paris at age 72.

One year ago: Wesley Clark dropped out of the race for the White House. A car bomb at an army recruiting center in Baghdad, Iraq, killed 47 people. Cable TV giant Comcast Corp. launched a hostile bid to buy The Walt Disney Co. for more than $54 billion (Comcast later dropped its bid).

Today’s birthdays: Author Sidney Sheldon is 88. Former Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen is 84. Actor Leslie Nielsen is 79. Actor Conrad Janis is 77. Actress Tina Louise is 71. Actor Burt Reynolds is 69. Songwriter Gerry Goffin is 66. Singer Bobby “Boris” Pickett is 65. Bandleader Sergio Mendes is 64. R&B singer Otis Clay is 63. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Mike Leavitt is 54. Actor Philip Anglim is 52. Actress Catherine Hickland is 49. Actress Carey Lowell is 44. Singer Sheryl Crow is 43. Actress Jennifer Aniston is 36. Actor Damian Lewis is 34. Singer D’Angelo is 31. Actor Brice Beckham is 29. Rock MC/vocalist Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) is 28. Singer-actress Brandy is 26. Actor Matthew Lawrence is 25. R&B singer Kelly Rowland (Destiny’s Child) is 24.

Thought for today: “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the one thing that he can’t afford to lose.” — Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931).