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Today in history: November 12

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

Today is Saturday, Nov. 12, the 316th day of 2005. There are 49 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Nov. 12, 1942, the World War II naval Battle of Guadalcanal began. (The Americans ended up winning a major victory over the Japanese.)

On this date:
In 1815, American suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in Johnstown, N.Y.

In 1920, baseball got its first “czar” as Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was elected commissioner of the American and National Leagues.

In 1927, Josef Stalin became the undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union as Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party.

In 1929, Grace Kelly — the future movie star and Princess of Monaco — was born in Philadelphia.

In 1948, former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and several other World War II Japanese leaders were sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal.

In 1977, the city of New Orleans elected its first black mayor, Ernest “Dutch” Morial.

In 1982, Yuri V. Andropov was elected to succeed the late Leonid I. Brezhnev as general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee.

In 1985, Xavier Suarez was elected Miami’s first Cuban-American mayor.

In 1990, Japanese Emperor Akihito formally assumed the Chrysanthemum Throne.

In 2001, an American Airlines Airbus A300-600, en route to the Dominican Republic, crashed 103 seconds after takeoff from New York’s Kennedy International Airport, killing 265 people.

Ten years ago: Israel’s ruling Labor Party unanimously approved Shimon Peres as its new leader, replacing slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The space shuttle Atlantis blasted off on a mission to dock with the Russian space station Mir.

Five years ago: On the eve of a federal court hearing on the Florida presidential election, advocates for George W. Bush and Al Gore previewed their legal strategies, with Democrats justifying painstaking recounts and Republicans saying the practice could result in political “mischief” and human error. Leah Rabin, an outspoken campaigner for Mideast peace following the 1995 assassination of her husband, former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, died at age 72.

One year ago: A jury in Redwood City, Calif., convicted Scott Peterson of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, and dumping her body in San Francisco Bay. (Peterson, who maintains his innocence, was later sentenced to death.) Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was buried at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, a day after his death in a French military hospital.

Today’s Birthdays: Rhythm-and-blues singer Ruby Nash Curtis (Ruby and the Romantics) is 66. Actor-playwright Wallace Shawn is 62. Singer Brian Hyland is 62. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jimmy Hayes (Persuasions) is 62. Rock musician Booker T. Jones (Booker T. & the MGs) is 61. Singer-songwriter Neil Young is 60. Rock musician Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser (Blue Oyster Cult) is 58. Country singer Barbara Fairchild is 55. Actress Megan Mullally is 47. Olympic gold medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci is 44. Rock musician David Ellefson is 41. Figure skater Tonya Harding is 35. Actress Tamala Jones is 31. Actress Angela Watson is 31. Singer Tevin Campbell is 29. Actress Ashley Williams is 27. Actor Ryan Gosling is 25. Actress Anne Hathaway is 23. Pop singer Omarion is 20. Actress Macey Cruthird (“Hope and Faith”) is 13.

Thought for Today: “Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.” — Florence Nightingale, English nursing pioneer (1820-1910).