Today's Highlight in History:
On Nov. 30, 1782, the United States and Britain signed preliminary peace articles in Paris, ending the Revolutionary War.
On this date:
Spain completed the process of ceding Louisiana to France, which had sold it to the United States.
In 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was born in Florida, Missouri.
In 1874, British statesman Sir Winston Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace.
In 1900, Irish writer Oscar Wilde died in Paris at age 46.
In 1936, London's famed Crystal Palace, constructed for the Great Exhibition of 1851, was destroyed in a fire.
In 1939, the Russo-Finnish War began as Soviet troops invaded Finland.
In 1962, U Thant of Burma, who had been acting secretary-general of the United Nations following the death of Dag Hammarskjold the year before, was elected to a four-year term.
In 1966, the former British colony of Barbados became independent.
In 1981, the United States and the Soviet Union opened negotiations in Geneva aimed at reducing nuclear weapons in Europe.
In 1982, the Michael Jackson album "Thriller" was released by Epic Records.
In 1988, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. was declared the winner of the corporate free-for-all to take over RJR Nabisco Inc. with a bid of $24.53 billion.
Ten years ago: U.S. soldiers in Iraq fought back coordinated attacks throughout the northern city of Samarra. Two South Korean contractors were killed in a roadside ambush. Nathaniel Jones, a black man, died during a fight with Cincinnati police in a case that heightened racial tensions. Walt Disney Co. vice chairman Roy E. Disney stepped down from the board of directors. Mark Philippoussis gave Australia its 28th Davis Cup title, beating Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 2-6, 6-0. Former U.S. congressman and World Bank chairman Barber B. Conable Jr. died in Sarasota, Florida, at age 81. Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel, died in Wyckoff, N.J., at age 98.
Five years ago: Space shuttle Endeavour returned to Earth after a nearly 16-day mission to repair and upgrade the international space station. The world's most comprehensive legalized heroin program became permanent with overwhelming approval from Swiss voters who simultaneously rejected the decriminalization of marijuana.
One year ago: Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Egypt, denouncing President Mohammed Morsi and a draft constitution that was approved earlier in the day by his Islamist allies. Citing insufficient evidence, prosecutors in Los Angeles dropped the murder case against Lois Goodman, a tennis referee who had been arrested before a match at the U.S. Open in connection with her husband's death.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. is 95. Actor Robert Guillaume is 86. Radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy is 83. Country singer-recording executive Jimmy Bowen is 76. Movie director Ridley Scott is 76. Movie writer-director Terrence Malick is 70. Rock musician Roger Glover (Deep Purple) is 68. Playwright David Mamet (MA'-meht) is 66. Actress Margaret Whitton is 63. Actor Mandy Patinkin is 61. Musician Shuggie Otis is 60. Country singer Jeannie Kendall is 59. Singer Billy Idol is 58. Historian Michael Beschloss is 58. Rock musician John Ashton (The Psychedelic Furs) is 56. Comedian Colin Mochrie is 56. Former football and baseball player Bo Jackson is 51. Rapper Jalil (Whodini) is 50. Actor-director Ben Stiller is 48. Rock musician Mike Stone is 44. Actress Sandra Oh is 43. Singer Clay Aiken is 35. Actor Billy Lush is 32. Actress Elisha Cuthbert is 31. Actress Kaley Cuoco (KWOH'-koh) is 28. Actress Christel Khalil is 26.
Thought for Today: "Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable." -- Mark Twain (1835-1910).
Copyright Associated Press