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November 20, 2012

Today in History for Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012

-- — Highlight in History

On Nov. 20, 1962, President John F. Kennedy held a news conference in which he announced the end of the naval quarantine of Cuba imposed during the missile crisis, and the signing of an executive order prohibiting discrimination in federal housing facilities.

On this date

In 1947, Britain’s future queen, Princess Elizabeth, married Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey.

Ten years ago

On the eve of a NATO summit in the Czech Republic, President George W. Bush, recalling Europe’s grim history of “excusing aggression,” challenged skeptical allies to stand firm against Saddam Hussein. A German doctor conducted Britain’s first public autopsy in more than 170 years, an event denounced by the British Medical Association’s Head of Ethics as “degrading and disrespectful.” (Prof. Gunther von Hagens charged spectators 12 pounds ($19) each for the event at a London gallery.)

Five years ago

A judge in St. George, Utah, sentenced polygamous-sect leader Warren Jeffs to five years to life in prison for his role in the arranged marriage of an underage girl to her older cousin. (Jeffs’ conviction was overturned by the Utah Supreme Court in 2010; prosecutors decided against a re-trial because Jeffs was already serving a life sentence in Texas in a separate case.)

Scientists in Japan and the U.S. reported creating the equivalent of embryonic stem cells from ordinary skin cells. Ian Smith, the last white prime minister of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), died near Cape Town, South Africa, at age 88.

One year ago

Spain’s opposition conservatives were swept into power as voters dumped the Socialists — the third time in as many weeks Europe’s debt crisis had claimed a government. Tony Stewart held off Carl Edwards to win his third NASCAR championship in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Landon Donovan scored in the 72nd minute on passes from Robbie Keane and David Beckham, and the Los Angeles Galaxy’s three superstars won their first MLS Cup together with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo. The Americans won the Presidents Cup as a team, 19-15, in Melbourne, Australia.

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