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Wednesday Morning: Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Oct. 10, the 284th day of 2012. There are 82 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Oct. 10, 1962, President John F. Kennedy, responding to the Thalidomide birth defects crisis, signed an amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requiring pharmaceutical companies to prove that their products were safe and effective prior to marketing.

On this date:

In 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy was established in Annapolis, Md.

In 1911, Chinese revolutionaries launched an uprising which led to the collapse of the Qing (or Manchu) Dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China. California voters approved Proposition 4, giving women the right to vote, and Proposition 7, which established the initiative process for proposing and enacting new laws.

In 1913, the Panama Canal was effectively completed as President Woodrow Wilson sent a signal from the White House by telegraph, setting off explosives that destroyed a section of the Gamboa dike.

In 1935, the George Gershwin opera "Porgy and Bess," featuring an all-black cast, opened on Broadway; it ran for 124 performances.

In 1938, Nazi Germany completed its annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland.

In 1943, Chiang Kai-shek took the oath of office as president of China.

In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower apologized to the finance minister of Ghana, Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, after the official was refused seating in a Howard Johnson's restaurant near Dover, Del.

In 1967, the Outer Space Treaty, prohibiting the placing of weapons of mass destruction on the moon or elsewhere in space, entered into force.

In 1970, Quebec Labor Minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped by the Quebec Liberation Front, a militant separatist group. (Laporte's body was found a week later.) Fiji became independent after nearly a century of British rule.

In 1973, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, accused of accepting bribes, pleaded no contest to one count of federal income tax evasion, and resigned his office.

In 1982, Father Maximilian Kolbe, who died in the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp, was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

In 1985, U.S. fighter jets forced an Egyptian plane carrying the hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro to land in Italy, where the gunmen were taken into custody.

Ten years ago: The House voted 296-133 to give President George W. Bush the broad authority he'd sought to use military force against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, with or without U.N. support. Two executives who'd overseen WorldCom's financial record-keeping pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a federal probe of the company's multi-billion-dollar accounting scandal. (Betty Vinson was later sentenced to five months in prison; Troy Normand received three years of probation.) Hungarian novelist and Holocaust survivor Imre Kertesz won the Nobel Prize in literature.

Five years ago: A 14-year-old suspended student opened fire in a Cleveland high school, wounding two teachers and two classmates before killing himself. The United Auto Workers tentatively agreed on a contract with Chrysler. (UAW members ratified the accord, but with significant dissent.) A Russian spacecraft blasted off for the international space station, carrying Malaysia's first astronaut (Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor) and Peggy Whitson, an American who became the first woman to command the orbital outpost. German Gerhard Ertl won the 2007 Nobel Prize in chemistry on his 71st birthday.

One year ago: Christopher Sims and Thomas Sargent of the United States won the Nobel Prize in economics. NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the season after owners and players were unable to reach a new labor deal and end a lockout. Albert Pujols had one of the biggest postseason nights of his career in Game 2 of the NL championship series, going 4 for 5 with a home run, three doubles and five RBIs as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 12-3 to even the series at 1-1. Nelson Cruz hit the first game-ending grand slam in postseason history, lifting the Texas Rangers over the Detroit Tigers 7-3 in 11 innings for a 2-0 lead in the AL championship series.

Today's Birthdays: Former Illinois Sen. Adlai Stevenson III is 82. Actor Peter Coyote is 71. Entertainer Ben Vereen is 66. Singer John Prine is 66. Actor Charles Dance is 66. Rock singer-musician Cyril Neville (The Neville Brothers) is 64. Actress Jessica Harper is 63. Author Nora Roberts (aka "J.D. Robb") is 62. Singer-musician Midge Ure is 59. Rock singer David Lee Roth is 58. Country singer Tanya Tucker is 54. Actress Julia Sweeney is 53. Actor Bradley Whitford is 53. Musician Martin Kemp is 51. Rock musician Jim Glennie (James) is 49. Actress Rebecca Pidgeon is 47. Rock musician Mike Malinin (Goo Goo Dolls) is 45. NFL quarterback Brett Favre is 43. Actress Wendi McLendon-Covey is 43. Actor Mario Lopez is 39. Race driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 38. Actress Jodi Lyn O'Keefe is 34. Singer Mya is 33. Actor Dan Stevens (TV: "Downton Abbey") is 30. Singer Cherie is 28. Actress Aimee Teegarden is 23.

Thought for Today: "I have a strong moral sense -- by my standards." -- Rex Stout, American writer (1886-1975).

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


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