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Today in History for Nov. 20, 2012

Today is Tuesday, Nov. 20, the 325th day of 2012. There are 41 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight:

On Nov. 20, 1962, President John F. Kennedy held a news conference in which he announced the end of the naval quarantine of Cuba imposed during the missile crisis, and the signing of an executive order prohibiting discrimination in federal housing facilities.

On this date:

In 1620, Peregrine White was born aboard the Mayflower in Massachusetts Bay; he was the first child born of English parents in present-day New England.

In 1789, New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.

In 1910, the Mexican Revolution of 1910 had its beginnings under the Plan of San Luis Potosi issued by Francisco I. Madero.

In 1929, the radio program “The Rise of the Goldbergs” debuted on the NBC Blue Network.

In 1947, Britain’s future queen, Princess Elizabeth, married Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey.

In 1952, President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his selection of John Foster Dulles to be his secretary of state.

In 1959, the United Nations issued its Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

In 1967, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Clock at the Commerce Department ticked past 200 million.

In 1969, the Nixon administration announced a halt to residential use of the pesticide DDT as part of a total phaseout. A group of American Indian activists began a 19-month occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.

In 1975, after nearly four decades of absolute rule, Spain’s General Francisco Franco died, two weeks before his 83rd birthday.

In 1982, in one of college football’s oddest finales, the University of California used five laterals to score a disputed winning touchdown on the last play of a game against Stanford, 25-20.

In 1992, fire seriously damaged Windsor Castle, the favorite weekend home of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Ten years ago: On the eve of a NATO summit in the Czech Republic, President George W. Bush, recalling Europe’s grim history of “excusing aggression,” challenged skeptical allies to stand firm against Saddam Hussein. A German doctor conducted Britain’s first public autopsy in more than 170 years, an event denounced by the British Medical Association’s Head of Ethics as “degrading and disrespectful.” (Prof. Gunther von Hagens charged spectators $19 each for the event at a London gallery.)

Five years ago: A judge in St. George, Utah, sentenced polygamous-sect leader Warren Jeffs to five years to life in prison for his role in the arranged marriage of an underage girl to her older cousin. (Jeffs’ conviction was overturned by the Utah Supreme Court in 2010; prosecutors decided against a re-trial because Jeffs was already serving a life sentence in Texas in a separate case.) Scientists in Japan and the U.S. reported creating the equivalent of embryonic stem cells from ordinary skin cells. Ian Smith, the last white prime minister of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), died near Cape Town, South Africa, at age 88.

One year ago: Spain’s opposition conservatives were swept into power as voters dumped the Socialists – the third time in as many weeks Europe’s debt crisis had claimed a government. Tony Stewart held off Carl Edwards to win his third NASCAR championship in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Landon Donovan scored in the 72nd minute on passes from Robbie Keane and David Beckham, and the Los Angeles Galaxy’s three superstars won their first MLS Cup together with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo. The Americans won the Presidents Cup as a team, 19-15, in Melbourne, Australia.

Today’s birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer is 89. Actress-comedian Kaye Ballard is 87. Actress Estelle Parsons is 85. Comedian Dick Smothers is 74. Singer Norman Greenbaum is 70. Vice President Joe Biden is 70. Actress Veronica Hamel is 69. Broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff is 66. Actor Samuel E. Wright is 66. Singer Joe Walsh is 65. Actor Richard Masur is 64. Opera singer Barbara Hendricks is 64. Actress Bo Derek is 56. Former NFL player Mark Gastineau is 56. Reggae musician Jim Brown (UB40) is 55. Actress Sean Young is 53. Pianist Jim Brickman is 51. Rock musician Todd Nance (Widespread Panic) is 50. Actress Ming-Na is 49. Actor Ned Vaughn is 48. Rapper Mike D (The Beastie Boys) is 47. Rapper Sen Dog (Cypress Hill) is 47. Actress Callie Thorne is 43. Actress Sabrina Lloyd is 42. Actor Joel McHale is 41. Actress Marisa Ryan is 38. Country singer Dierks Bentley is 37. Actor Joshua Gomez is 37. Actress Laura Harris is 36. Olympic gold medal gymnast Dominique Dawes is 36. Country singer Josh Turner is 35. Actress Nadine Velazquez is 34. Actor Dan Byrd is 27. Actress Ashley Fink (“Glee”) is 26. Rock musician Jared Followill (Kings of Leon) is 26. Actor Cody Linley is 23.

Thought for today: “People, when they first come to America, whether as travelers or settlers, become aware of a new and agreeable feeling: that the whole country is their oyster.” — Alistair Cooke, British-born American journalist and broadcaster (1908-2004).

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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