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Five years ago: President George W. Bush, addressing a Rotary Club meeting, tried to reassure an edgy public that the economy was "pretty good" despite the mix of a failing housing market, a national credit crunch and surging energy costs. Iran received its first nuclear fuel from Russia, paving the way for the startup of its reactor. Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed a measure making New Jersey the first state to abolish the death penalty in more than 40 years. NBC announced that Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien were planning to return to their late-night shows in early 2008, even as the writers' strike continued.
One year ago: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died after more than a decade of iron rule; he was 69, according to official records, but some reports indicated he was 70. Advocates for immigrants gathered outside Alabama's state Capitol in Montgomery to call for repeal of a controversial law they said harkened back to the state's segregationist past.
Today's birthdays: Actor Armin Mueller-Stahl is 82. Singer-actor Tommy Steele is 76. Rock singer-musician Art Neville is 75. Actor Bernard Hill is 68. Actor Ernie Hudson is 67. Political commentator Chris Matthews is 67. Comedian-actor Eugene Levy is 66. Actress Marilyn Hassett is 65. Actor Wes Studi is 65. Pop musician Jim Bonfanti (The Raspberries) is 64. Actor Joel Brooks is 63. Rock singer Paul Rodgers is 63. Rhythm-and-blues singer Wanda Hutchinson (The Emotions) is 61. Actor Bill Pullman is 59. Actor Barry Livingston is 59. Country singer Sharon White is 59. Producer-director-writer Peter Farrelly is 56. Rock musician Mike Mills (R.E.M.) is 54. Pop singer Sarah Dallin (Bananarama) is 51. Country musician Tim Chewning is 50. Country singer Tracy Byrd is 46. Country musician Duane Propes is 46. Actress Laurie Holden is 43. DJ Homicide (Sugar Ray) is 42. Actor Sean Patrick Thomas is 42. Actress Claire Forlani is 41. Pop-rock musician Eddie Fisher (OneRepublic) is 39. Actress Sarah Paulson is 38. Actress Marissa Ribisi is 38. Actor Giovanni Ribisi is 38. Actress Milla Jovovich (YO'-vuh-vich) is 37. Singer Bree Sharp is 37. Actress Jennifer Carpenter is 33. Singer-songwriter Ben Goldwasser (MGMT) is 30. Actress Shannon Woodward is 28. Actress Emma Bell is 26. Actress Vanessa Zima is 26. Actor-singer Nat Wolff is 18.
Thought for today: "Democracy is not an easy form of government, because it is never final; it is a living, changing organism, with a continuous shifting and adjusting of balance between individual freedom and general order." -- Ilka Chase, American author, actress, humorist (1905-1978)
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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