Today in History

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Posted: Oct 18, 2010 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Monday, Oct. 18, the 291st day of 2010. There are 74 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Oct. 18, 1962, James D. Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins were honored with the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for determining the double-helix molecular structure of DNA.

On this date:

In 1685, King Louis XIV signed the Edict of Fontainebleau, revoking the Edict of Nantes that had established legal toleration of France's Protestant population, the Huguenots. (The French Parliament recorded the new edict four days later.)

In 1858, the play "Our American Cousin" by Tom Taylor premiered at Laura Keene's New York theater.

In 1867, the United States took formal possession of Alaska from Russia.

In 1892, the first long-distance telephone line between New York and Chicago was officially opened (it could only handle one call at a time).

In 1910, the E.M. Forster novel "Howards End" was first published.

In 1931, inventor Thomas Alva Edison died in West Orange, N.J., at age 84.

In 1944, Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia during World War II.

In 1969, the federal government banned artificial sweeteners known as cyclamates (SY'-kluh-maytz) because of evidence they caused cancer in laboratory rats.

In 1977, West German commandos stormed a hijacked Lufthansa jetliner on the ground in Mogadishu, Somalia, freeing all 86 hostages and killing three of the four hijackers.

In 1982, former first lady Bess Truman died at her home in Independence, Mo., at age 97.

Ten years ago: President Bill Clinton honored the 17 sailors killed in a suicide bomb attack against the USS Cole as he attended a ceremony at the Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia. Broadway musical star Gwen Verdon died in Woodstock, Vt., at age 75; singer-actress Julie London died in Los Angeles at age 74.

Five years ago: Tropical Storm Wilma strengthened into a hurricane as it continued on a path toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, then south Florida.

One year ago: A suicide bomber struck a meeting between Revolutionary Guard commanders and Shiite and Sunni tribal leaders in the Iranian border town of Pishin, killing 42 people, including 15 Guard members. Jessica Watson, a 16-year-old Australian, steered her bright pink yacht out of Sydney Harbor to start her bid to become the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted around the world. (She succeeded, returning to Sydney Harbor in May 2010.)

Today's Birthdays: Rock-and-roll performer Chuck Berry is 84. Sportscaster Keith Jackson is 82. Actress Dawn Wells is 72. College and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Mike Ditka is 71. Actor Joe Morton is 63. Actress Pam Dawber is 60. Author Terry McMillan is 59. Writer-producer Chuck Lorre is 58. Gospel singer Vickie Winans is 57. International Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova is 54. Boxer Thomas Hearns is 52. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is 50. Actress Erin Moran is 50. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is 49. Actor Vincent Spano is 48. Rock musician Tim Cross is 44. Tennis player Michael Stich (shteek) is 42. Singer Nonchalant is 37. Rock musician Peter Svenson (The Cardigans) is 36. Actor Wesley Jonathan is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer-actor Ne-Yo is 31. Country singer Josh Gracin is 30. Country musician Jesse Littleton (Marshall Dyllon) is 29. Actress-model Freida Pinto is 26. Actor Zac Efron is 23. Actress Joy Lauren is 21. Actor Tyler Posey is 19.

Thought for Today: "The strongest are those who renounce their own times and become a living part of those yet to come. The strongest, and the rarest." _ Milovan Djilas (1911-1995), Yugoslav author and politician.

(Above Advance for Use Monday, Oct. 18)

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