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Today in history: July 15

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

Today is Friday, July 15, the 196th day of 2005. There are 169 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 15, 1975, three American astronauts blasted off aboard an Apollo spaceship hours after two Soviet cosmonauts were launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for a mission that included a linkup of the two ships in orbit.

On this date:
In 1606, Dutch painter Rembrandt was born in Leiden, Netherlands.

In 1870, Georgia became the last Confederate state readmitted to the Union.

In 1916, Boeing Co., originally known as Pacific Aero Products, was founded in Seattle.

In 1948, President Truman was nominated for another term of office by the Democratic national convention in Philadelphia.

In 1964, Sen. Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona was nominated for president by the Republican national convention in San Francisco.

In 1965, U.S. scientists displayed close-up photographs of the planet Mars taken by Mariner 4.

In 1971, in a surprise announcement, President Nixon said he would visit the People’s Republic of China.

In 1976, a 36-hour kidnap ordeal began for 26 schoolchildren and their bus driver as they were abducted near Chowchilla, Calif., by three gunmen and imprisoned in an underground cell. (The captives escaped unharmed.)

In 1979, President Carter delivered his “malaise” speech in which he lamented what he called a “crisis of confidence” in America.

In 1985, a gaunt-looking Rock Hudson appeared at a news conference with actress Doris Day. (It was later revealed Hudson was suffering from AIDS).

Ten years ago: A 19-year-old sales clerk was rescued after being buried in the rubble of a collapsed shopping mall in Seoul, South Korea, for 16 days.

Five years ago: The United Nations launched a successful military operation to help 222 Indian peacekeepers and 11 military observers break out of a rebel stronghold in Sierra Leone. Lennox Lewis stopped Francois Botha at 2:39 of the second round to retain his WBC and IBF heavyweight titles in London. Former Rhode Island governor and longtime U.S. Sen. John O. Pastore died at age 93.

One year ago: President Bush signed into law a measure imposing mandatory prison terms for criminals who use identity theft in committing terrorist acts and other offenses. The Senate approved a plan to pay tobacco farmers $12 billion to give up federal quotas propping up their prices. Retired Air Force Gen. Charles W. Sweeney, who piloted the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki in the final days of World War II, died in Boston at age 84.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Philip Carey is 80. Actor Alex Karras is 70. Actor Ken Kercheval is 70. Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio is 69. Actor Patrick Wayne is 66. Actor Jan-Michael Vincent is 61. Rhythm-and-blues singer Millie Jackson is 61. Rock singer-musician Peter Lewis (Moby Grape) is 60. Singer Linda Ronstadt is 59. Actor Terry O’Quinn is 53. Rock musician Marky Ramone is 49. Rock musician Joe Satriani is 49. Country singer-songwriter Mac McAnally is 48. Model Kim Alexis is 45. Actor Willie Aames is 45. Actor-director Forest Whitaker is 44. Actress Lolita Davidovich is 44. Actress Brigitte Nielsen is 42. Actor Kristoff St. John is 39. Rock musician Phillip Fisher is 38. Actor-comedian Eddie Griffin is 37. Actor Stan Kirsch is 37. Rock musician John Dolmayan is 33. Actor Scott Foley is 33. Actor Brian A. Green is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kia Thornton (Divine) is 24.

Thought for Today: “Love is indescribable and unconditional. I could tell you a thousand things that it is not, but not one that it is.” — Duke Ellington, American jazz artist (1899-1974).