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Today in History - January 3
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    Today is Thursday, Jan. 3, the third day of 2008. There are 363 days left in the year.
    Today’s Highlight in History:
    Fifty years ago, on Jan. 3, 1958, the first six members of the newly formed U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held their first meeting at the White House after they were sworn in by President Eisenhower.
    On this date:
    In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X.
    In 1777, Gen. George Washington’s army routed the British in the Battle of Princeton, N.J.
    In 1833, Britain seized control of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. (Almost 150 years later, Argentina seized the islands from the British, but Britain took them back after a 74-day war.)
    In 1868, the Meiji Restoration re-established the authority of Japan’s emperor and heralded the fall of the military rulers known as shoguns.
    In 1938, the March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was organized.
    In 1947, congressional proceedings were televised for the first time as viewers in Washington, Philadelphia and New York got to see some of the opening ceremonies of the 80th Congress.
    In 1959, President Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Alaska to the Union as the 49th state.
    In 1961, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba.
    In 1990, ousted Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega surrendered to U.S. forces, 10 days after taking refuge in the Vatican’s diplomatic mission.
    In 1993, President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a historic nuclear missile-reduction treaty in Moscow.
    Ten years ago: Funeral services were held in Centerville, Mass., for Michael Kennedy, the son of Robert and Ethel Kennedy who was killed New Year’s Eve in a skiing accident in Aspen, Colo.
    Five years ago: Taking a brief timeout from his two-week vacation, President Bush visited Fort Hood in Texas, where he rallied Army troops as the nation faced the prospect of war with Iraq. David Westerfield, the man who had kidnapped and murdered 7-year-old neighbor Danielle van Dam, was sentenced to death by a judge in San Diego. Ohio State won its first championship in 34 years, beating Miami 31-24 in the Fiesta Bowl.
    One year ago: Gerald R. Ford was laid to rest on the grounds of his presidential museum in Grand Rapids, Mich., during a ceremony watched by thousands. Four Americans and an Austrian abducted in southern Iraq spoke briefly and appeared uninjured in a video delivered to The Associated Press. Former Commerce Secretary C. William Verity Jr. died in Beaufort, S.C., at age 89.
    Today’s Birthdays: Record producer Sir George Martin is 82. Actor Robert Loggia is 78. Actor Dabney Coleman is 76. Journalist-author Betty Rollin is 72. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Hull is 69. Singer-songwriter-producer Van Dyke Parks is 65. Musician Stephen Stills is 63. Rock musician John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) is 62. Actress Victoria Principal is 58. Actor-director Mel Gibson is 52. Actress Shannon Sturges is 40. Jazz musician James Carter is 39. Contemporary Christian singer Nichole Nordeman is 36. Actor Jason Marsden is 33. Actress Danica McKellar is 33. Actor Nicholas Gonzalez is 32. Singer Kimberley Locke (‘‘American Idol’’) is 30. Rhythm-and-blues singer Lloyd is 22. Actor Alex D. Linz is 19.
    Thought for Today: ‘‘Experience is a wonderful thing; it enables you to recognize a mistake every time you repeat it.’’ — Anonymous.

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