Today in History

AP News
Posted: Oct 18, 2011 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Tuesday, Oct. 18, the 291st day of 2011. There are 74 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Oct. 18, 1961, the movie musical "West Side Story," starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer, premiered in New York, the film's setting.

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.

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 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 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.

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

In 1971, the Knapp Commission began public hearings into allegations of corruption in the New York City police department (the witnesses included Frank Serpico).

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: CBS News announced that an employee in anchorman Dan Rather's office had tested positive for skin anthrax. Four disciples of Osama bin Laden were sentenced in New York to life without parole for their roles in the deadly 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Five years ago: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, visiting Tokyo, said the United States was willing to use its full military might to defend Japan in light of North Korea's nuclear test. The Dow Jones industrial average passed 12,000 for the first time before pulling back to close at 11,992.68.

One year ago: Four men snared in an FBI sting were convicted of plotting to blow up New York City synagogues and shoot down military planes with the help of a paid informant who'd convinced them he was a terror operative.

Today's Birthdays: Rock-and-roll performer Chuck Berry is 85. Sportscaster Keith Jackson is 83. Actress Dawn Wells is 73. College and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Mike Ditka is 72. Actor Joe Morton is 64. Actress Pam Dawber is 61. Author Terry McMillan is 60. Writer-producer Chuck Lorre is 59. Gospel singer Vickie Winans is 58. International Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova is 55. Boxer Thomas Hearns is 53. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is 51. Actress Erin Moran is 51. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is 50. Actor Vincent Spano is 49. Rock musician Tim Cross is 45. Tennis player Michael Stich (shteek) is 43. Singer Nonchalant is 38. Actress Joy Bryant is 37. Rock musician Peter Svenson (The Cardigans) is 37. Actor Wesley Jonathan is 33. Rhythm-and-blues singer-actor Ne-Yo is 32. Country singer Josh Gracin is 31. Country musician Jesse Littleton (Marshall Dyllon) is 30. Jazz singer-musician Esperanza Spalding is 27. Actress-model Freida Pinto is 27. Actor Zac Efron is 24. Actress Joy Lauren is 22. Actor Tyler Posey is 20.

Thought for Today: "Only those ideas that are least truly ours can be adequately expressed in words." _ Henri Bergson, French philosopher (1859-1941).

(Above Advance for Use Tuesday, Oct. 18)

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