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November 21, 2012

Today in History

Today is Friday, Nov. 23, the 328th day of 2012. There are 38 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On Nov. 23, 1942, during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure establishing the U.S. Women’s Coast Guard Reserve, or SPARS (an abbreviation of the U.S. Coast Guard motto “Semper Paratus” — “Always Ready”).

On this date:

In 1765, Frederick County, Md. became the first colonial entity to repudiate the British Stamp Act.

In 1804, the 14th president of the United States, Franklin Pierce (puhrs), was born in Hillsboro, N.H.

In 1887, actor Boris Karloff was born William Henry Pratt in London.

In 1903, Enrico Caruso made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, appearing in “Rigoletto.”

In 1910, American-born physician Hawley Harvey Crippen was hanged at Pentonville Prison in London for murdering his wife, Cora. (Crippen’s mistress, Ethel Le Neve, was acquitted in a separate trial of being an accessory.)

In 1936, Life, the photojournalism magazine created by Henry R. Luce, was first published.

In 1943, during World War II, U.S. forces seized control of Tarawa and Makin atolls from the Japanese.

In 1959, the musical “Fiorello!,” starring Tom Bosley as legendary New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, opened on Broadway.

In 1971, the People’s Republic of China was seated in the U.N. Security Council.

In 1980, some 2,600 people were killed by a series of earthquakes that devastated southern Italy.

In 1992, in Germany, three Turks were killed when rightist militants firebombed their homes in Moelln; in Berlin, hundreds of demonstrators protested in solidarity with foreigners. Country music star Roy Acuff died in Nashville at age 89.

In 1996, a commandeered Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 crashed into the water off the Comoros Islands, killing 125 of the 175 people on board, including all three hijackers.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush visited Vilnius, Lithuania, and Bucharest, Romania, where he vowed to defend hard-won freedoms behind the former Iron Curtain. Miss World organizers moved the beauty pageant from Abuja, Nigeria, to London after some 100 people died in violence triggered by a Nigerian newspaper’s suggestion that the Islamic prophet Muhammad would have liked the event.

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