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Today in history: July 17

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

Today is Sunday, July 17, the 198th day of 2005. There are 167 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Fifty years ago, on July 17, 1955, Disneyland debuted in Anaheim, Calif.

On this date:
In 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States.

In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, Spanish troops in Santiago, Cuba, surrendered to U.S. forces.

In 1917, the British royal family adopted the name “Windsor.”

In 1935, the entertainment trade publication Variety ran its famous headline, “Sticks Nix Hick Pix” (which might be translated as, “Rural America rejects rural-themed movies”).

In 1944, 322 people were killed when a pair of ammunition ships exploded in Port Chicago, Calif.

In 1945, President Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill began meeting at Potsdam in the final Allied summit of World War II.

In 1975, an Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit in the first superpower linkup of its kind.

In 1979, Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza resigned and fled into exile in Miami.

In 1981, 114 people were killed when a pair of walkways above the lobby of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel collapsed during a “tea dance.”

In 1996, TWA Flight 800, a Paris-bound Boeing 747, exploded and crashed off Long Island, New York, shortly after departing John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people aboard.

Ten years ago: Thirty-two people were injured when a Boston Green Line trolley rammed another train under Copley Square.

Five years ago: Bashar Assad, son of Hafez Assad, began a seven-year term as Syria’s 16th head of state. A jet smashed into two homes in Patna, India, killing a total of 56 people on board and on the ground.

One year ago: Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia submitted his resignation to Yasser Arafat, who rejected it the next day. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger mockingly used the term “girlie men” during a rally as he claimed Democrats were delaying the state budget by catering to special interests.

Today’s Birthdays: TV personality Art Linkletter is 93. Comedian Phyllis Diller is 88. The former president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, is 85. Jazz singer Jimmy Scott is 80. Comedy writer Pat McCormick is 71. Actor Donald Sutherland is 70. Actress-singer Diahann Carroll is 70. Rock singer Spencer Davis is 63. Rock musician Terry “Geezer” Butler (Black Sabbath) is 56. Actress Lucie Arnaz is 54. Actor David Hasselhoff is 53. Singer Phoebe Snow is 53. Television producer Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “The Apprentice”) is 45. Actress Nancy Giles is 45. Singer Regina Belle is 42. Rock musician Lou Barlow is 39. Hip-hop singer Guru (Gang Starr) is 39. Contemporary Christian singer Susan Ashton is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer Stokley (Mint Condition) is 38. Actress Bitty Schram is 37. Singer JC (PM Dawn) is 34. Rapper Sole’ is 32.

Thought for Today: “All styles are good except the tiresome sort.” — Voltaire, French writer (1694-1778).