Today in History

AP News
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Posted: Oct 18, 2015 12:00 AM

Today is Sunday, October 18, the 291st day of 2015. There are 74 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On October 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.

In 1767, the Mason-Dixon line, the boundary between colonial Pennsylvania and Maryland, was set as astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon completed their survey.

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 1922, the British Broadcasting Co., Ltd. (later the British Broadcasting Corp.) was founded.

In 1931, inventor Thomas Alva Edison died in West Orange, New Jersey, at age 84.

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

In 1954, Texas Instruments unveiled the Regency TR-1, the first commerically produced transistor radio.

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, Missouri, at age 97.

In 1997, a monument honoring American servicewomen, past and present, was dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery.

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

Five years 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. (Defendants James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen were each sentenced to 25 years in prison.)

One year ago: The Supreme Court said Texas could use its controversial new voter identification law for the November election, rejecting an emergency request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo ID. (Three justices dissented.) The remains of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, 18, were found near Charlottesville; a suspect, Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., is charged with first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile. Paul Craft, 76, a songwriter and member of the country Hall of Fame, died in Nashville.

Today's Birthdays: Rock-and-roll performer Chuck Berry is 89. Sportscaster Keith Jackson is 87. Actress Dawn Wells is 77. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka is 76. Singer-musician Russ Giguere is 72. Actor Joe Morton is 68. Actress Pam Dawber is 65. Author Terry McMillan is 64. Writer-producer Chuck Lorre is 63. Gospel singer Vickie Winans is 62. Director-screenwriter David Twohy (TOO'-ee) is 60. International Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova is 59. Boxer Thomas Hearns is 57. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is 55. Actress Erin Moran is 55. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is 54. Actor Vincent Spano is 53. Rock musician Tim Cross is 49. Tennis player Michael Stich (shteek) is 47. Singer Nonchalant is 42. Actress Joy Bryant is 41. Rock musician Peter Svenson (The Cardigans) is 41. Actor Wesley Jonathan is 37. Rhythm-and-blues singer-actor Ne-Yo is 36. Country singer Josh Gracin is 35. Country musician Jesse Littleton (Marshall Dyllon) is 34. Olympic gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn is 31. Jazz singer-musician Esperanza Spalding is 31. Actress-model Freida Pinto is 31. Actor Zac Efron is 28. Actress Joy Lauren is 26. TV personality Bristol Palin is 25. Actor Tyler Posey is 24. Actor Toby Regbo is 24.

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 Sunday, October 18)

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