Today is Wednesday, Nov. 17, the 322nd day of 2004. There are 44 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Nov. 17, 1800, Congress held its first session in Washington in the partially completed Capitol building.

On this date:

In 1558, Elizabeth I ascended the English throne upon the death of Queen Mary.

In 1869, the Suez Canal opened in Egypt.

In 1917, sculptor August Rodin died in Meudon, France.

In 1925, actor Rock Hudson was born in Winnetka, Ill.

In 1934, Lyndon Baines Johnson married Claudia Alta Taylor, better known as "Lady Bird."

In 1962, Washington's Dulles International Airport was dedicated by President Kennedy.

In 1970, the Soviet Union landed an unmanned, remote-controlled vehicle on the moon, the Lunokhod I.

In 1973, President Nixon told Associated Press managing editors meeting in Orlando, Fla.: "People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook."

In 1979, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 female and black American hostages being held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

In 2002, Israeli statesman Abba Eban died near Tel Aviv at age 87.

Ten years ago: Francisco Martin Duran, the Colorado man accused of an assault-rifle attack on the White House, was indicted on a new charge of trying to assassinate President Clinton. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Sunset Boulevard" opened on Broadway with Glenn Close as faded movie star Norma Desmond.

Five years ago: Officials close to the investigation into the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 said a co-pilot alone in the cockpit had said in Arabic: "I made my decision now; I put my faith in God's hands" just before the jetliner began its fatal plunge. (In Egypt, relatives angrily rejected any notion that relief co-pilot Gameel el-Batouty had deliberately crashed the plane.)

One year ago: John Allen Muhammad was convicted of two counts of capital murder in the Washington-area sniper shootings. Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as the 38th governor of California. Rush Limbaugh returned to radio after five weeks of rehabilitation for a painkiller addiction. Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez won the American League Most Valuable Player award.

Today's Birthdays: Olympian-turned-politician Bob Mathias is 74. Singer Gordon Lightfoot is 66. Movie director Martin Scorsese is 62. Actress Lauren Hutton is 61. Actor-director Danny DeVito is 60. Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels is 60. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver is 60. Movie director Roland Joffe is 59. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is 56. Actor Stephen Root is 53. Actress-producer-director Yolanda King is 49. Actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is 46. Actor William Moses is 45. Entertainer RuPaul is 44. Actor Dylan Walsh is 41. Actress Sophie Marceau is 38. Actress-model Daisy Fuentes is 38. R&B singer Ronnie DeVoe (New Edition; Bell Biv DeVoe) is 37. Rock musician Ben Wilson (Blues Traveler) is 37. R&B musician Jeff Allen (Mint Condition) is 36. Actress Leslie Bibb is 31. Actor Brandon Call is 28. Country singer Aaron Lines is 27. Rock musician Isaac Hanson (Hanson) is 24. Actor Justin Cooper is 16. Actress Raquel Castro ("Jersey Girl") is 10.

Thought for Today: "There's one thing that keeps surprising you about stormy old friends after they die - their silence." - Ben Hecht, American author and screenwriter (1893-1964).


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