Today in History – 10/18/2019

Published 5:52 pm Thursday, October 17, 2019

By The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Oct. 18, the 291st day of 2019. There are 74 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

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On Oct. 18, 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.

On this date:

In 1648, Boston shoemakers were authorized to form a guild to protect their interests; it’s the first American labor organization on record.

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 1898, the American flag was raised in Puerto Rico shortly before Spain formally relinquished control of the island to the U-S.

In 1912, black boxer Jack Johnson was arrested in Chicago, accused of violating the Mann Act because of his relationship with his white girlfriend, Lucille Cameron. (The case collapsed when Cameron refused to cooperate, but Johnson was later re-arrested and convicted on the testimony of a former mistress, Belle Schreiber.)

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 1961, the movie musical “West Side Story,” starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer, premiered in New York, the film’s setting.

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 because of evidence they caused cancer in laboratory rats.

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

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.”

In 2001, 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.

Ten 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.)

Five years 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.

One year ago: President Donald Trump threatened to close the U.S. border with Mexico if authorities could not stop a caravan of migrants making their way from Central America. Trump threatened “very severe” consequences if the Saudis were found to have murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. LeBron James finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, but the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Portland Trail Blazers, 128-119, in James’ regular-season debut with the Lakers. The Boston Red Sox advanced to the World Series, beating the Houston Astros 4-1 to win the American League Championship Series in five games.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Dawn Wells is 81. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka is 80. Singer-musician Russ Giguere is 76. Actor Joe Morton is 72. Actress Pam Dawber is 69. Author Terry McMillan is 68. Writer-producer Chuck Lorre is 67. Gospel singer Vickie Winans is 66. Director-screenwriter David Twohy is 64. International Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova is 63. Actor Jon Lindstrom is 62. International Hall of Fame boxer Thomas Hearns is 61. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is 59. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is 58. Actor Vincent Spano is 57. Rock musician Tim Cross is 53. Former tennis player Michael Stich is 51. Singer Nonchalant is 46. Actress Joy Bryant is 45. Rock musician Peter Svenson (The Cardigans) is 45. Actor Wesley Jonathan is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer-actor Ne-Yo is 40. Country singer Josh Gracin is 39. Country musician Jesse Littleton (Marshall Dyllon) is 38. Olympic gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn is 35. Jazz singer-musician Esperanza Spalding is 35. Actress-model Freida Pinto is 35. Actor Zac Efron is 32. Actress Joy Lauren is 30. TV personality Bristol Palin is 29. Actor Tyler Posey is 28. Actor Toby Regbo is 28.

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