Today Is November 21st 2007

Today is Wednesday, Nov. 21, the 325th day of 2007. There are 40 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Nov. 21, 1927, picketing strikers at the Columbine Mine in northern Colorado were fired on by state police; six miners were killed.

On this date:

In 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1922, Rebecca L. Felton of Georgia was sworn in as the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.

In 1934, the Cole Porter musical "Anything Goes," starring Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, opened in New York.

In 1942, the Alaska Highway was formally opened.

In 1964, the upper level of New York's Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which connected Brooklyn and Staten Island, was opened.

In 1967, President Johnson signed the Air Quality Act.

In 1969, the Senate voted down the Supreme Court nomination of Clement F. Haynsworth, the first such rejection since 1930.

In 1973, President Nixon's attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt, revealed the existence of an 18 1/2-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to Watergate.

In 1979, a mob attacked the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing two Americans.

In 1980, 87 people died in a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

Ten years ago: U.N. arms inspectors returned to Iraq after Saddam Hussein's three-week standoff with the United Nations over the presence of Americans on the team. President Clinton signed a law giving the FDA new powers to speed the approval of drugs to combat a host of killer diseases, including cancer and AIDS.

Five years ago: In a historic eastward shift, NATO expanded its membership into the borders of the former Soviet Union as it invited seven former communist countries under its security umbrella. In Nigeria, deadly rioting erupted after a newspaper suggested Islam's founding prophet would have approved of the Miss World beauty pageant, scheduled to be held in the Nigerian capital, Abuja (the event was moved to London). Eleven bus passengers were killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem.

One year ago: Kathryn Johnston, 92, was killed in a hail of bullets during a botched drug raid by Atlanta police. Lebanon's industry minister, Pierre Gemayel, scion of Lebanon's most prominent Christian family, was assassinated in a brazen daytime hit. A methane gas explosion at the Halemba coal mine in southern Poland killed 23 people. Justin Morneau won the American League's Most Valuable Player Award.

Today's Birthdays: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Stan Musial is 87. Actor Joseph Campanella is 80. Country singer Jean Shepard is 74. Actor Laurence Luckinbill is 73. Actress Marlo Thomas is 70. Actor Rick Lenz is 68. Singer Dr. John is 67. Actress Juliet Mills is 66. Comedian-director Harold Ramis is 63. Television producer Marcy Carsey is 63. Actress Goldie Hawn is 62. Movie director Andrew Davis is 61. Rock musician Lonnie Jordan (War) is 59. Singer Livingston Taylor is 57. Actress-singer Lorna Luft is 55. Journalist Tina Brown is 54. Actress Cherry Jones is 51. Rock musician Brian Ritchie (The Violent Femmes) is 47. Gospel singer Steven Curtis Chapman is 45. Actress Nicollette Sheridan is 44. Singer-actress Bjork is 42. Football player Troy Aikman is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chauncey Hannibal (BLACKstreet) is 39. Rock musician Alex James (Blur) is 39. Baseball player Ken Griffey Jr. is 38. Rapper Pretty Lou (Lost Boyz) is 36. Country singer Kelsi Osborn (SHeDAISY) is 33. Actress Jena Malone is 23.

Thought for Today: "Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise." — The 4th Earl of Chesterfield, English author (1694-1773).

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Laureate Award Recipients Shocked To Recieve The Award

Rebecca Quilliam
Five artists at the top of their chosen fields have received the prestigious Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award tonight.

Pianist Michael Houstoun, dancer Sarah-Jane Howard, entertainer Moana Maniapoto, theatre director Colin McColl, and ceramicist Merilyn Wiseman were all recognised for their artistic achievements at Wellington's Embassy Theatre.

They were each presented with $50,000.

McColl, Howard, Maniapoto and Wiseman all said they could not believe they had won the honour.

"I actually thought it was a hoax," Howard said.

When she was convinced it was otherwise, she said it was such an honour to be held in the same regard as previous winners.

McColl said he was "flabbergasted" with the news and had no idea what he was going to spend the money on.

Maniapoto said the prizemoney would go towards clearing the credit cards and helping with her band.

She said the news of her award was "left of centre and that's what makes it so outrageous".

Wiseman was the first ceramicist to be awarded a laureate and said the prize would help her to try out some exploratory ideas with her work.

The laureates have been in existence since 2000.

They were created by the New Zealand Arts Foundation and are funded by a $6 million endowment fund.

Previous winners include Bro Town creator Oscar Kightley, film maker Gaylene Preston, actor Michael Hurst, and musician Don McGlashan.

Since 2000 the arts foundation has awarded 34 New Zealand artists with laureates and distributed a total of $1.4 million.

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