Today is Saturday, Oct. 18, the 291st day of 2014

Today In HistoryToday’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 18, 1767, the Mason-Dixon line, the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland, was set as astronomer Charles Mason and surveyor Jeremiah Dixon completed their survey.

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 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 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 1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, overriding President Richard Nixon’s veto.

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 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum, 26, was taken off life support six days after shooting himself in the head with a pistol loaded with a blank cartridge on the set of his TV show “Cover Up.”

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush and Democratic rival John Kerry traded biting accusations over the war in Iraq, with Bush saying his Democratic challenger stood for “protest and defeatism” while Kerry accused the president of “arrogant boasting.” An Anglican church commission urged the U.S. Episcopal Church not to elect any more gay bishops and called on conservative African bishops to stop meddling in the affairs of other dioceses.

Five years 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.)

One year ago: People in the San Francisco Bay area faced a frustrating Friday commute as workers for the region’s largest transit system walked off the job for the second time in four months. President Barack Obama nominated the Pentagon’s former top lawyer, Jeh (jay) C. Johnson, to be the next Secretary of Homeland Security. In a stunning about-face, Saudi Arabia rejected a coveted seat on the U.N. Security Council, denouncing the body for failing to resolve world conflicts such as Syria’s civil war. The St. Louis Cardinals advanced to their second World Series in three seasons by roughing up the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0 in Game 6 of the NL championship series. Former House Speaker Tom Foley, 84, died in Washington, D.C. Former NFL coach Bum Phillips, 90, died in Goliad, Texas.

Today’s Birthdays: Rock-and-roll performer Chuck Berry is 88. Sportscaster Keith Jackson is 86. Actress Dawn Wells is 76. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka is 75. Singer-musician Russ Giguere is 71. Actor Joe Morton is 67. Actress Pam Dawber is 64. Author Terry McMillan is 63. Writer-producer Chuck Lorre is 62. Gospel singer Vickie Winans is 61. Director-screenwriter David Twohy (TOO’-ee) is 59. International Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova is 58. Boxer Thomas Hearns is 56. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is 54. Actress Erin Moran is 54. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is 53. Actor Vincent Spano is 52. Rock musician Tim Cross is 48. Tennis player Michael Stich (shteek) is 46. Singer Nonchalant is 41. Actress Joy Bryant is 40. Rock musician Peter Svenson (The Cardigans) is 40. Actor Wesley Jonathan is 36. Rhythm-and-blues singer-actor Ne-Yo is 35. Country singer Josh Gracin is 34. Country musician Jesse Littleton (Marshall Dyllon) is 33. Olympic gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn is 30. Jazz singer-musician Esperanza Spalding is 30. Actress-model Freida Pinto is 30. Actor Zac Efron is 27. Actress Joy Lauren is 25. TV personality Bristol Palin is 24. Actor Tyler Posey is 23. Actor Toby Regbo (TV: “Reign”) is 23.

Thought for Saturday:

“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

 

Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

 

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