Today in History
Today is Saturday, Feb. 11, the 42nd day of 2012. There are 324 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 11, 1812, Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a re-districting law favoring his Democratic-Republican Party -- giving rise to the term "gerrymandering."
On this date:
In 1858, a French girl, Bernadette Soubirous, reported the first of 18 visions of a lady dressed in white in a grotto near Lourdes. (The Catholic Church later accepted that the visions were of the Virgin Mary.)
In 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln bade farewell to his adopted hometown of Springfield, Ill., as he headed to Washington for his inauguration.
In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson began in Tennessee. (Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant captured the fort five days later.)
In 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed, with Italy recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City.
In 1937, a six-week-old sit-down strike against General Motors ended, with the company agreeing to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union.
In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement during World War II.
In 1960, "Tonight Show" host Jack Paar stunned his audience by walking off the program in a censorship dispute with NBC. (Despite his very public resignation, Paar returned to the Tonight Show less than a month later.)
In 1972, McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. and Life magazine canceled plans to publish what had turned out to be a fake autobiography of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.
In 1975, Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of Britain's opposition Conservative Party.
In 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran.
In 1982, actress-dancer Eleanor Powell, 69, died in Beverly Hills, Calif.
In 1990, South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.
Ten years ago: Israel attacked Palestinian security headquarters in Gaza City in response to unprecedented Palestinian rocket fire and a shooting attack on Israeli civilians. Argentina fully uncoupled the peso from the U-S dollar for the first time in more than a decade. Americans Ross Powers, Danny Kass and J.J. Thomas took gold, silver and bronze in the men's halfpipe at the Salt Lake City Olympics. Controversy erupted at the games as Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze were crowned the champions of pairs figure skating, although many observers felt the best duo was Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada.
Five years ago: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, marking the 28th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, vowed his country would not give up uranium enrichment. The Dixie Chicks won five Grammys in a defiant comeback after being shunned over their anti-President George W. Bush comments about the Iraq war. Harvard University named historian Drew Gilpin Faust its first female president.
One year ago: Egypt exploded with joy after pro-democracy protesters brought down President Hosni Mubarak, whose resignation ended three decades of authoritarian rule.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Conrad Janis is 84. Actress Tina Louise is 78. Actor Burt Reynolds is 76. Songwriter Gerry Goffin is 73. Actor Sonny Landham is 71. Bandleader Sergio Mendes is 71. Rhythm-and-blues singer Otis Clay is 70. Actor Philip Anglim is 60. Actress Catherine Hickland is 56. Rock musician David Uosikkinen (The Hooters) is 56. Actress Carey Lowell is 51. Singer Sheryl Crow is 50. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is 48. Actress Jennifer Aniston is 43. Actor Damian Lewis is 41. Actress Marisa Petroro is 40. Singer D'Angelo is 38. Actor Brice Beckham is 36. Rock M-C/vocalist Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) is 35. Singer-actress Brandy is 33. Actor Matthew Lawrence is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kelly Rowland is 31. Singer Aubrey O'Day is 28. Actress Q'orianka Kilcher is 22. Actor Taylor Lautner is 20.
Thought for Today: "We had better live as we think, otherwise we shall end up by thinking as we have lived." -- Paul Bourget, French author (1852-1935).
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.