Today is Wednesday, Nov. 24, the 329th day of 2004. There are 37 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Nov. 24, 1963, Jack Ruby shot and mortally wounded Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy, in a scene captured on live television.

On this date:

In 1784, Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of the United States, was born in Orange County, Va.

In 1859, British naturalist Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species," which explained his theory of evolution.

In 1864, French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born in Albi.

In 1871, the National Rifle Association was incorporated.

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. bombers based on Saipan attacked Tokyo in the first raid against the Japanese capital by land-based planes.

In 1969, Apollo 12 splashed down safely in the Pacific.

In 1971, hijacker D.B. Cooper parachuted from a Northwest Airlines 727 over Washington state with $200,000 in ransom; his fate remains unknown.

In 1985, the hijacking of an Egyptair jetliner parked on the ground in Malta ended violently as Egyptian commandos stormed the plane. Fifty-eight people died in the raid, in addition to two others killed by the hijackers.

In 1987, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to scrap shorter- and medium-range missiles.

In 1989, Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu was unanimously re-elected Communist Party chief. (Within a month, he was overthrown in a popular uprising and executed along with his wife, Elena, on Christmas Day.)

Ten years ago: Rebel Serbs refused to withdraw from the U.N. designated safe area around Bihac and continued to advance on the city, despite recent NATO air strikes.

Five years ago: Two-hundred and eighty people were killed when a ferry caught fire and foundered off the coast of eastern China's Shandong province.

One year ago: President Bush signed a $401 billion defense authorization bill. The president then traveled to Fort Carson, Colo., where he paid tribute to the sacrifices of U.S. troops in Iraq. A jury in Virginia Beach, Va., sentenced John Allen Muhammad to death for the Washington-area sniper shootings. A fire at a Moscow dormitory for foreign students killed 43 people. Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn died in Broken Arrow, Okla., at age 82.

Today's Birthdays: Columnist William F. Buckley is 79. Country singer Johnny Carver is 64. Rock-and-roll drummer Pete Best is 63. Rock musician Donald "Duck" Dunn (Booker T. & the MG's) is 63. Actor-comedian Billy Connolly is 62. Former White House news secretary Marlin Fitzwater is 62. Former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman is 60. Singer Lee Michaels is 59. Actor Dwight Schultz is 57. Actor Stanley Livingston is 54. Rock musician Clem Burke (Blondie; The Romantics) is 49. Record producer Terry Lewis is 48. Actress Denise Crosby is 47. Actress Shae D'Lyn is 42. Rock musician John Squire (The Stone Roses) is 42. Rock musician Gary Stonadge (Big Audio) is 42. Rock musician Chad Taylor (Live) is 34. Actress Lola Glaudini ("The Handler") is 33. Actor Colin Hanks is 27. Actress Katherine Heigl is 26.

Thought for Today: "Humor distorts nothing, and only false gods are laughed off their earthly pedestals." - Agnes Repplier, American essayist (1858-1950).

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