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Today in History

1903 Italian tenor Enrico Caruso makes his American debut in a Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi’s Rigoletto.
1904 Russo-German talks break down because of Russia’s insistence on consulting France.
1909 The Wright brothers form a million-dollar corporation for the commercial manufacture of their airplanes.
1921 President Warren G. Harding signs the Willis-Campbell Act, better known as the anti-beer bill. It forbids doctors to prescribe beer or liquor for medicinal purposes.
1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt recalls the American ambassador from Havana, Cuba, and urges stability in the island nation.
1934 The United States and Great Britain agree on a 5-5-3 naval ratio, with both countries allowed to build five million tons of naval ships while Japan can only build three. Japan will denounce the treaty.
1936 The United States abandons the American embassy in Madrid, Spain, which is engulfed by the civil war.
1941 U.S. troops move into Dutch Guiana to guard the bauxite mines.
1942 The film Casablanca premieres in New York City.
1943 U.S. Marines declare the island of Tarawa secure.
1945 Wartime meat and butter rationing ends in the United States.
1953 North Korea signs 10-year aid pact with Peking.
1968 Four men hijack Pan-Am Flight 281 , with 87 passengers, from Miami to Cuba.
1980 In Europe’s biggest earthquake since 1915, 3,000 people are killed in Italy.
1981 US Pres. Ronald Reagan signs a top-secret directive giving the CIA authority to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
1990 The first all-woman expedition to the South Pole sets off from Antarctica on the first part of a 70-day trip; the group includes 12 Russians, 3 Americans and 1 Japanese.
1992 The first Smartphone, IBM’s Simon, is introduced at COMDEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
2005 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is elected president of Liberia. She is the first woman to lead an African nation.
2006 In the second-deadliest day of sectarian violence in Iraq since the beginning of the 2003 war, 215 people are killed and nearly 260 injured by bombs in Sadr City.
2011 Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signs a deal to to transfer power to the vice president, in exchange for legal immunity; the agreement came after 11 months of protests.