Today in History - Nov. 17

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2009 12:00 AM

Today is Tuesday, Nov. 17, the 321st day of 2009. There are 44 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Nov. 17, 1800, Congress held its first session in Washington in the partially completed Capitol building.

On this date:

In 1558, Elizabeth I acceded to the English throne upon the death of Queen Mary.

In 1869, the Suez Canal opened in Egypt.

In 1934, Lyndon Baines Johnson married Claudia Alta Taylor, better known as Lady Bird, in San Antonio.

In 1962, Washington's Dulles International Airport was dedicated by President John F. Kennedy.

In 1969, the first round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks between the United States and the Soviet Union opened in Helsinki, Finland.

In 1970, the Soviet Union landed an unmanned, remote-controlled vehicle on the moon, the Lunokhod 1.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon told Associated Press managing editors meeting in Orlando, Fla.: "People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook."

In 1979, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 black and/or female American hostages being held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

In 1987, a federal jury in Denver convicted two neo-Nazis and acquitted two others of civil rights violations in the 1984 slaying of radio talk show host Alan Berg.

In 1997, 62 people, most of them foreign tourists, were killed when militants opened fire at the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor, Egypt; the attackers were killed by police.

Ten years ago: Officials close to the investigation into the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 said a relief co-pilot alone in the cockpit had said in Arabic: "I made my decision now; I put my faith in God's hands" just before the jetliner began its fatal plunge. (In Egypt, relatives angrily rejected any notion that relief co-pilot Gameel el-Batouty had deliberately crashed the plane.)

Five years ago: It was announced that Kmart was acquiring Sears in a surprise $11 billion deal. In Washington state, officials said Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi led Democratic opponent Christine Gregoire by only 261 votes. (After three counts of the ballots, Gregoire was declared the winner by just 129 votes out of 2.9 million cast.)

One year ago: In their first meeting since the election, Barack Obama and former rival John McCain met at the president-elect's transition headquarters in Chicago, where they pledged to work together on ways to change Washington's "bad habits." St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols won his second NL MVP award.

Today's Birthdays: Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., is 75. Rock musician Gerry McGee (The Ventures) is 72. Singer Gordon Lightfoot is 71. Singer-songwriter Bob Gaudio is 68. Movie director Martin Scorsese is 67. Actress Lauren Hutton is 66. Actor-director Danny DeVito is 65. "Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels is 65. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver is 65. Movie director Roland Joffe is 64. Former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean is 61. Actor Stephen Root is 58. Rock musician Jim Babjak (The Smithereens) is 52. Actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is 51. Actor William Moses is 50. Entertainer RuPaul is 49. Actor Dylan Walsh is 46. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is 45. Actress Sophie Marceau is 43. Actress-model Daisy Fuentes is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ronnie DeVoe (New Edition; Bell Biv DeVoe) is 42. Rock musician Ben Wilson (Blues Traveler) is 42. Actor Leonard Roberts is 37. Actress Leslie Bibb is 36. Actor Brandon Call is 33. Country singer Aaron Lines is 32. Actress Rachel McAdams is 31. Rock musician Isaac Hanson (Hanson) is 29. Actor Justin Cooper is 21. Actress Raquel Castro is 15.

Thought for Today: "Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college." _ Lillian Smith, American writer and social critic (1897-1966).