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Five years ago: The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Gen. David Petraeus, told Congress that hard-won gains in the war zone were too fragile to promise any troop pullouts beyond the summer as he held his ground against impatient Democrats and refused to commit to more withdrawals before President George W. Bush left office in January 2009. American Airlines grounded all 300 of its MD-80 jetliners amid safety concerns about wiring bundles; the carrier ended up canceling more than 3,000 flights over the next four days. Tennessee captured its eighth women's NCAA championship with a 64-48 victory over Stanford.
One year ago: A U.N.-brokered plan to stop the bloodshed in Syria effectively collapsed after President Bashar Assad's government raised new, last-minute demands that the country's largest rebel group swiftly rejected. The U.S. and Afghanistan signed a deal giving Afghans authority over raids of Afghan homes, resolving one of the most contentious issues between the two wartime allies. Bubba Watson saved par from the pine straw and won the Masters on the second hole of a playoff over Louis Oosthuizen (WUHST'-hy-zen).
Today's birthdays: Comedian Shecky Greene is 87. Actor-turned-diplomat John Gavin is 82. Author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh is 76. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is 75. Basketball Hall-of-Famer John Havlicek is 73. "Mouseketeer" Darlene Gillespie is 72. Rhythm-and-blues singer J.J. Jackson is 72. Singer Peggy Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 72. Songwriter-producer Leon Huff is 71. Actor Hywel Bennett is 69. Actor Stuart Pankin is 67. Rock musician Steve Howe is 66. Former House Republican Leader Tom DeLay is 66. Movie director John Madden is 64. Rock musician Mel Schacher (Grand Funk Railroad) is 62. Actor John Schneider is 53. "Survivor" winner Richard Hatch is 52. Rock musician Izzy Stradlin is 51. Singer Julian Lennon is 50. Rock singer-musician Donita Sparks is 50. Rapper Biz Markie is 49. Actress Robin Wright is 47. Actress Patricia Arquette is 45. Rock singer Craig Honeycutt (Everything) is 43. Rock musician Darren Jessee is 42. Actress Emma Caulfield is 40. Actress Katee Sackhoff is 33. Actor Taylor Kitsch is 32. Rock singer-musician Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) is 29. Actor Taran Noah Smith is 29. Actress Kirsten Storms is 29.
Thought for today: "A highbrow is a person educated beyond his intelligence." -- James Brander Matthews, American author and educator (1852-1929)
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