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Five years ago: A commercial helicopter contracted by the U.S. Defense Department was shot down by missile fire north of Baghdad; eleven people, including six American bodyguards, were killed. Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar was convicted by a military jury at Fort Bragg, N.C. of premeditated murder and attempted murder in an attack that killed two of his comrades and wounded 14 others in Kuwait. (He was later sentenced to death.) Zhang Chunqiao (jahng chuhn-kee-OW'), one of the Gang of Four that terrorized China during the Cultural Revolution, died at age 88.
One year ago: Calling on Americans to volunteer, President Barack Obama signed a $5.7 billion national service bill tripling the size of the AmeriCorps service program. The sole survivor of a pirate attack on an American cargo ship off the Somali coast was charged as an adult with piracy in federal court in New York. (A prosecutor said Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse had given wildly varying ages for himself before finally admitting he was 18.)
Today's birthdays: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is 84. Actress-comedian-writer Elaine May is 78. Actor Charles Grodin is 75. Singer-musician Iggy Pop is 63. Actress Patti LuPone is 61. Actor Tony Danza is 59. Actress Andie MacDowell is 52. Rock singer Robert Smith (The Cure) is 51. Rock musician Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 51. Actor John Cameron Mitchell is 47. Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) is 44. Rock singer-musician Glen Hansard (The Frames) is 40. Comedian Nicole Sullivan is 40. Rock musician David Brenner (Theory of a Deadman) is 32. Actor James McAvoy is 31.
Thought for today: "I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'" -- Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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