Today in History - Nov. 15

AP News
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Posted: Nov 15, 2009 12:01 AM

Today is Sunday, Nov. 15, the 319th day of 2009. There are 46 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Nov. 15, 1959, Kansas farmer Herbert Clutter, his wife, Bonnie, and the couple's two youngest children, Nancy, 16, and Kenyon, 15, were found murdered in their home in Holcomb. (Two ex-convicts, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, were later convicted of the killings and hanged; the case was detailed in the Truman Capote book "In Cold Blood.")

On this date:

In 1777, the Second Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation, a precursor to the Constitution of the United States.

In 1806, explorer Zebulon Pike sighted the mountaintop now known as "Pikes Peak" in present-day Colorado.

In 1889, Brazil was proclaimed a republic as its emperor, Dom Pedro II, was overthrown.

In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

In 1948, William Lyon Mackenzie King retired as prime minister of Canada after 21 years; he was succeeded by Louis St. Laurent.

In 1966, the flight of Gemini 12 ended successfully as astronauts James A. Lovell and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. splashed down safely in the Atlantic.

In 1969, a quarter of a million protesters staged a peaceful demonstration in Washington against the Vietnam War.

In 1979, the British government publicly identified Sir Anthony Blunt as the "fourth man" of a Soviet spy ring.

In 1984, Stephanie Fae Beauclair, the infant publicly known as "Baby Fae" who had received a baboon's heart to replace her own congenitally deformed one, died at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California three weeks after the transplant.

In 1988, the Soviet Union launched its first space shuttle, Buran, on its only flight, which carried no crew.

Ten years ago: The Clinton administration claimed victory in a seven-year struggle to persuade Congress to pay nearly $1 billion in back dues to the United Nations. Chinese and U.S. negotiators agreed to remove trade barriers, clearing the biggest hurdle to China's entry into the World Trade Organization.

Five years ago: The White House announced that Secretary of State Colin Powell was leaving President George W. Bush's Cabinet, along with Education Secretary Rod Paige, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. The U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Ivory Coast's hard-line government after its violent confrontation with France.

One year ago: World leaders battling an economic crisis agreed in Washington to flag risky investing and regulatory weak spots in hopes of avoiding future financial meltdowns. A wildfire destroyed nearly 500 mobile homes in Los Angeles. Gay rights supporters marched in cities coast to coast to protest the vote that banned gay marriage in California. Somali pirates hijacked the Sirius Star, a Saudi-owned oil supertanker, in the Indian Ocean. (The ship was released eight weeks later after the pirates were reportedly paid a ransom.)

Today's Birthdays: Judge Joseph Wapner is 90. Statesman Howard H. Baker Jr. is 84. Actor Ed Asner is 80. Actor John Kerr is 78. Singer Petula Clark is 77. Comedian Jack Burns is 76. Actress Joanna Barnes is 75. Actor Yaphet Kotto is 70. Actor Sam Waterston is 69. Classical conductor Daniel Barenboim is 67. Pop singer Frida (ABBA) is 64. Actor Bob Gunton is 64. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is 62. Director-actor James Widdoes is 56. Rock singer-producer Mitch Easter is 55. CNN anchor-reporter John Roberts is 53. "Jay Leno Show" bandleader Kevin Eubanks is 52. Comedian Judy Gold is 47. Actress Rachel True is 43. Rapper E-40 is 42. Country singer Jack Ingram is 39. Actor Jay Harrington is 38. Actor Jonny Lee Miller is 37. Actress Sydney Tamiia Poitier is 36. Christian rock musician David Carr (Third Day) is 35. Rock singer-musician Chad Kroeger is 35. Rock musician Jesse Sandoval is 35. Actress Virginie Ledoyen is 33. Actor Sean Murray (TV: "NCIS") is 32. Pop singer Ace Young (TV: "American Idol") is 29. Golfer Lorena Ochoa is 28. Actress Shailene Woodley is 18.

Thought for Today: "In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou has attained it thou art a fool." _ Simon Ben Azzai, 2nd century (A.D.) Jewish scholar.