Today is Thusday, Oct. 4, the 278th day of 2012. There are 88 days left in the year.
Today's Highlights in History:
On Oct. 4, 1957, the Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit. James R. Hoffa was elected president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The family comedy series "Leave It to Beaver" premiered on CBS.
On this date:
In 1777, Gen. George Washington's troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pa., resulting in heavy American casualties.
In 1822, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, was born in Delaware, Ohio.
In 1861, during the Civil War, the United States Navy authorized construction of the first ironclad ship, the USS Monitor.
In 1887, the International Herald Tribune had its beginnings as the Paris Herald, a European edition of the New York Herald.
In 1931, the comic strip "Dick Tracy," created by Chester Gould, made its debut.
In 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps.
In 1959, the Soviet Union launched Luna 3, a space probe which transmitted images of the far side of the moon.
In 1960, an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-188A Electra crashed on takeoff from Boston's Logan International Airport, killing all but 10 of the 72 people on board.
In 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin, 27, was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room.
In 1976, agriculture secretary Earl Butz resigned in the wake of a controversy over a joke he'd made about blacks.
In 1980, fire broke out aboard the Dutch cruise vessel Prinsendam in the Gulf of Alaska, forcing the 520 people aboard to abandon ship; no deaths or serious injury resulted. (The ship capsized and sank a week later.)
In 1991, 26 nations, including the United States, signed the Madrid Protocol, which imposed a 50-year ban on oil exploration and mining in Antarctica.
Ten years ago: John Walker Lindh, the so-called "American Taliban," received a 20-year sentence after a sobbing, halting plea for forgiveness before a federal judge in Alexandria, Va.. In a federal court in Boston, a laughing Richard Reid pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes as he declared his hatred for America and his loyalty to Osama bin Laden.
Five years ago: Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, defiantly vowed to serve out his term in office despite losing a court attempt to rescind his guilty plea in a men's room sex sting. Former city maintenance worker John Ashley shot five people in a law office in Alexandria, La., killing two of them; Ashley was shot and killed by police following a standoff. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il pledged to pursue a peace treaty and end their countries' decades-long standoff.
One year ago: Three U.S.-born scientists, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess, won the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace. The NBA canceled the entire 114-game preseason schedule because a new collective bargaining agreement had not been reached with the National Basketball Players Association.
Today's Birthdays: Country singer Leroy Van Dyke is 83. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Sam Huff is 78. Actor Eddie Applegate is 77. Actress Felicia Farr is 77. Author Jackie Collins is 75. Author Roy Blount Jr. is 71. Author Anne Rice is 71. Actress Lori Saunders ("Petticoat Junction") is 71. Baseball manager Tony La Russa is 68. Actor Clifton Davis is 67. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, is 66. Actress Susan Sarandon is 66. Blues musician Duke Robillard is 64. Playwright Lee Blessing is 63. Actor Armand Assante is 63. Actor Alan Rosenberg is 62. Actor Christoph Waltz is 56. Actor Bill Fagerbakke (FAY'-guhr-bah-kee) is 55. Music producer Russell Simmons is 55. Actress-singer Wendy Makkena is 54. Musician Chris Lowe (The Pet Shop Boys) is 53. Country musician Gregg "Hobie" Hubbard (Sawyer Brown) is 52. Actor David W. Harper is 51. Singer Jon Secada is 51. TV personality John Melendez is 47. Actor Liev Schreiber is 45. Actor Abraham Benrubi is 43. Country singer-musician Heidi Newfield is 42. Actress Alicia (ah-LEE'-see-ah) Silverstone is 36. Actor Phillip Glasser is 34. Rock singer-musician Marc Roberge (O.A.R.) is 34. Actress Rachael Leigh Cook is 33. Actor Jimmy Workman is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jessica Benson (3lw) is 25. Actor Michael Charles Roman is 25. Figure skater Kimmie Meisner is 23.
Thought for Today: "He who confers a favor should at once forget it, if he is not to show a sordid, ungenerous spirit." — Demosthenes, Greek statesman (384 B.C.-322 B.C.).
(Above Advance for Use Thusday, Oct. 4)
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.