Today is Wednesday, Nov. 21, the 326th day of 2012. There are 40 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Nov. 21, 1942, the Alaska Highway, also known as the Alcan Highway, was formally opened at Soldier's Summit in the Yukon Territory.
On this date:
In 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In 1861, Judah Benjamin, who had been acting Confederate Secretary of War, was formally named to the post.
In 1912, actress and dancer Eleanor Powell was born in Springfield, Mass.
In 1920, the Irish Republican Army killed 12 British intelligence officers and two auxiliary policemen in the Dublin area; British forces responded by raiding a soccer match, killing 14 civilians.
In 1922, Rebecca L. Felton of Georgia was sworn in as the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.
In 1931, the Universal horror film "Frankenstein," starring Boris Karloff as the monster and Colin Clive as his creator, was first released.
In 1934, the Cole Porter musical "Anything Goes," starring Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, opened on Broadway.
In 1969, the Senate voted down the Supreme Court nomination of Clement F. Haynsworth, 55-45, the first such rejection since 1930.
In 1973, President Richard Nixon's attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt (buh-ZAHRDT'), revealed the existence of an 18½-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to Watergate.
In 1974, bombs exploded at a pair of pubs in Birmingham, England, killing 21 people. (Six suspects were convicted of the attack, but the convictions of the so-called "Birmingham Six" were overturned in 1991.)
In 1980, 87 people died in a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.
In 1991, the U.N. Security Council chose Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt to be Secretary-General.
Ten years ago: In a historic eastward shift, NATO expanded its membership into the borders of the former Soviet Union as it invited seven former communist countries (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) under its security umbrella. In northern Nigeria, deadly rioting erupted after a newspaper suggested Islam's founding prophet Muhammad would have approved of the Miss World beauty pageant, scheduled to be held in the Nigerian capital, Abuja (the event was moved to London). Eleven bus passengers were killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem.
Five years ago: New Hampshire set its earliest-ever presidential primary, deciding on Jan. 8, 2008. Officials announced the recall of more than a half-million pieces of Chinese-made children's jewelry contaminated with lead. Engineer Herbert Saffir, who created the five-category system used to describe hurricane strength, died in Miami at age 90.
One year ago: Congress' bipartisan deficit reduction "supercommittee," tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in cuts over a decade, failed; under the law that established the committee, inability to reach a compromise would trigger about $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts in military and domestic government programs beginning in 2013. Detroit's Justin Verlander became the first starting pitcher in a quarter-century to be voted Most Valuable Player. Author Ann McCaffrey, 85, whose vision of an interstellar alliance between humans and dragons spawned the science fiction "Dragonriders of Pern" novels, died south of Dublin.
Today's Birthdays: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Stan Musial is 92. Actor Joseph Campanella is 85. Country singer Jean Shepard is 79. Actor Laurence Luckinbill is 78. Actress Marlo Thomas is 75. Actor Rick Lenz is 73. Singer Dr. John is 72. Actress Juliet Mills is 71. Basketball Hall of Famer Earl Monroe is 68. Comedian-director Harold Ramis is 68. Television producer Marcy Carsey is 68. Actress Goldie Hawn is 67. Movie director Andrew Davis is 66. Rock musician Lonnie Jordan (War) is 64. Singer Livingston Taylor is 62. Actress-singer Lorna Luft is 60. Actress Cherry Jones is 56. Rock musician Brian Ritchie (The Violent Femmes) is 52. Gospel singer Steven Curtis Chapman is 50. Actress Nicollette Sheridan is 49. Singer-actress Bjork (byork) is 47. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is 46. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chauncey Hannibal (BLACKstreet) is 44. Rock musician Alex James (Blur) is 44. MLB All-Star player Ken Griffey Jr. is 43. TV personality Rib Hillis is 42. Rapper Pretty Lou (Lost Boyz) is 41. Football player-turned-talk show host Michael Strahan (STRAY'-han) is 41. Country singer Kelsi Osborn (SHeDAISY) is 38. Singer-actress Lindsey Haun is 28. Actress Jena Malone is 28. Pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen is 27. Actor-singer Sam Palladio (TV: "Nashville") is 25.
Thought for Today: "A concept is stronger than a fact." — Charlotte P. Gilman, American lecturer and author (1860-1935).
(Above Advance for Use Wednesday, Nov. 21)
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.