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Today in History

Posted October 15

Today in History

Today is Saturday, Oct. 15, the 289th day of 2016. There are 77 days left in the year.

Today's Highlights in History:

On Oct. 15, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill creating the U.S. Department of Transportation. The revolutionary Black Panther Party was founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California.

On this date:

In 1783, the first manned balloon flight took place in Paris as Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier ascended in a basket attached to a tethered Montgolfier hot-air balloon, rising to about 75 feet.

In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte, the deposed Emperor of the French, arrived on the British-ruled South Atlantic island of St. Helena, where he spent the last 5 1/2 years of his life in exile.

In 1905, Claude Debussy's "La Mer" (The Sea), a trio of symphonic sketches, premiered in Paris.

In 1914, the Clayton Antitrust Act, which expanded on the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson.

In 1917, Dutch dancer Mata Hari, convicted of spying for the Germans, was executed by a French firing squad outside Paris.

In 1940, Charles Chaplin's first all-talking comedy, "The Great Dictator," a lampoon of Adolf Hitler, opened in New York.

In 1945, the former premier of Vichy France, Pierre Laval, was executed for treason.

In 1946, Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering (GEH'-reeng) fatally poisoned himself hours before he was to have been executed.

In 1969, peace demonstrators staged activities across the country as part of a "moratorium" against the Vietnam War.

In 1976, in the first debate of its kind between vice-presidential nominees, Democrat Walter F. Mondale and Republican Bob Dole faced off in Houston.

In 1990, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev was named the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. South Africa's Separate Amenities Act, which had barred blacks from public facilities for decades, was formally scrapped.

In 1991, despite sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill, the Senate narrowly confirmed the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court, 52-48.

Ten years ago: A strong earthquake struck the Big Island of Hawaii, damaging buildings and roads but apparently causing no deaths. Three members of Duke University's lacrosse team appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes" to deny raping a woman who'd been hired to perform as a stripper (Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans were later exonerated). Pope Benedict XVI named four new saints of the Catholic Church.

Five years ago: Italian riot police fired tear gas and water cannons in Rome as violent protesters hijacked a peaceful demonstration against corporate greed, smashing bank windows, torching cars and hurling bottles. Iran's Foreign Ministry dismissed U.S. accusations that Tehran was involved in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, saying the claims had no "legal logic." The Texas Rangers finished off the Detroit Tigers to become the American League's first repeat champion in a decade with a 15-5 win in Game 6 of the ALCS. Former Hollywood superagent Sue Mengers died in Beverly Hills, California.

One year ago: President Barack Obama abandoned his pledge to end America's longest war, announcing plans to keep at least 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017 and hand the conflict off to his successor. Ken Taylor, Canada's ambassador to Iran who'd sheltered Americans at his residence during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, died in New York at age 81.

Today's Birthdays: Former auto executive Lee Iacocca is 92. Jazz musician Freddy Cole is 85. Singer Barry McGuire is 81. Actress Linda Lavin is 79. Rock musician Don Stevenson (Moby Grape) is 74. Actress-director Penny Marshall is 73. Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Palmer is 71. Singer-musician Richard Carpenter is 70. Actor Victor Banerjee is 70. Former tennis player Roscoe Tanner is 65. Singer Tito Jackson is 63. Actor-comedian Larry Miller is 63. Actor Jere Burns is 62. Actress Tanya Roberts is 61. Movie director Mira Nair is 59. Britain's Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, is 57. Chef Emeril Lagasse is 57. Rock musician Mark Reznicek (REHZ'-nih-chehk) is 54. Singer Eric Benet is 50. Actress Vanessa Marcil is 48. Singer-actress-TV host Paige Davis is 47. Country singer Kimberly Schlapman (Little Big Town) is 47. Actor Dominic West is 47. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ginuwine is 46. Actor Devon Gummersall is 38. Actor Chris Olivero is 37. Christian singer-actress Jaci (JAK'-ee) Velasquez is 37. Actor Brandon Jay McLaren is 36. Rhythm-and-blues singer Keyshia Cole is 35. Tennis player Elena Dementieva is 35. Actor Vincent Martella is 24. Actress Bailee Madison is 17.

Thought for Today: "The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking." — John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-born American economist (1908-2006).


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