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This day in history

► Today is Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, the 53d day of 2012. There are 313 days left in the year.

► Today’s birthdays: Announcer Don Pardo is 94. Actor Paul Dooley is 84. Hollywood “ghost singer’’ Marni Nixon is 82. Movie director Jonathan Demme is 68. Actor John Ashton is 64. Actress Miou-Miou is 62. Actress Julie Walters is 62. Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving is 62. Actress Ellen Greene is 61. Former Senator Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is 60. White House adviser David Axelrod is 57. Actor Kyle MacLachlan is 53. World Golf Hall of Famer Vijay Singh is 49. Actress-comedian Rachel Dratch is 46. Actor Paul Lieberstein (“The Office’’) is 45. Actress Jeri Ryan is 44. Actor Thomas Jane is 43. Actress Tamara Mello is 42. Actress-singer Lea Salonga is 41. Actor Jose Solano is 41. International Tennis Hall of Famer Michael Chang is 40. Rock musician Scott Phillips is 39. Actress Drew Barrymore is 37. Actress Liza Huber is 37. Singer James Blunt is 35. Rock singer Tom Higgenson (Plain White T’s) is 33. Actor Zach Roerig (“The Vampire Diaries’’) is 27. Actor Daniel E. Smith is 22.

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► In 1732, the first president of the United States, George Washington, was born in Westmoreland County in the Virginia Colony.

► In 1784, a US merchant ship, the Empress of China, left New York for the Far East to trade goods with China.

► In 1862, Jefferson Davis, already the provisional president of the Confederacy, was inaugurated for a six-year term following his election in November 1861.

► In 1865, Tennessee adopted a new constitution which included the abolition of slavery.

► In 1909, the Great White Fleet, a naval task force sent on a round-the-world voyage by President Theodore Roosevelt, returned after more than a year at sea.

► In 1924, President Coolidge delivered the first radio broadcast from the White House as he addressed the country over 42 stations.

► In 1935, it became illegal for airplanes to fly over the White House.

► In 1940, the 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) was enthroned at 4 in Lhasa, Tibet.

► In 1959, the inaugural Daytona 500 race was held; although Johnny Beauchamp was initially declared the winner, the victory was later awarded to Lee Petty.

► In 1967, more than 25,000 US and South Vietnamese troops launched Operation Junction City, aimed at smashing a Viet Cong stronghold near the Cambodian border. (Although the communists were driven out, they later returned.)

► In 1973, the United States and China agreed to establish liaison offices.

► In 1980, the “Miracle on Ice’’ took place in Lake Placid, N.Y., as the United States Olympic hockey team upset the Soviets, 4-3. (The US team went on to win the gold medal.)

► In 1987, pop artist Andy Warhol died at a New York City hospital at 58; talk-show host David Susskind was found dead in his Manhattan hotel suite; he was 66.

► In 2002, police in San Diego arrested David Westerfield in connection with the disappearance of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam. (Westerfield was later sentenced to death for Danielle’s murder.) The Angolan army and government announced the killing of Jonas Savimbi, leader of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola. Cartoon animator Chuck Jones died in Newport Beach, Calif., at 89.

► In 2007, Britain’s Ministry of Defense announced that Prince Harry, a second lieutenant in the British army, would be deployed to Iraq (officials later reversed the decision because of insurgent threats). The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency said that Iran had ignored a Security Council ultimatum to freeze uranium enrichment, and instead had expanded its program by setting up hundreds of centrifuges.

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