Today is Tuesday, October 8, the 281st day of 2013. There are 84 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1858 – The “Arrow Incident,” in which a ship flying the British flag is boarded by Chinese, provokes the second Anglo-Chinese War.
1871 – The Great Chicago Fire starts, supposedly when a cow kicks over a lantern in a barn. Most of the city is razed.
1892 – Sergei Rachmaninoff first publicly performs his piano “Prelude in C-sharp Minor” in Moscow.
1912 – Montenegro declares war on Turkey. It is joined 10 days later by its neighbors in the First Balkan War.
1934 – Bruno Hauptmann is indicted for murdering famed American aviator Charles A. Lindbergh’s kidnapped infant son.
1939 – Germany incorporates western Poland into Third Reich in World War II.
1945 – U.S. President Harry Truman announces the secret of the atomic bomb would be shared only with Britain and Canada.
1954 – Communist Vietnamese forces occupy Hanoi.
1962 – Uganda becomes an independent nation within the British Commonwealth.
1970 – U.S. President Richard Nixon proposes a cease-fire in Indochina. The Communist representatives respond by denouncing the proposal.
1975 – Heavy fighting in Beirut and northern Lebanon kills at least 25 people and shatters the latest truce between warring Christians and Muslims.
1984 – China announces plan to make primary school education compulsory by 1990 and eradicate adult illiteracy by 1995.
1985 – The hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro kill American passenger Leon Klinghoffer, dumping his body and wheelchair overboard.
1987 – Tamil militants fighting for a separate state in Sri Lanka kill at least 24 people, most of them from the majority Sinhalese community, as Indian peacekeeping troops fan out to quell violence in the country’s northern and eastern provinces.
1990 – Israeli police open fire on stone-throwing Palestinian protesters on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, killing at least 19 Arabs and wounding more than 100 others.
1991 – A new truce in Yugoslavia takes effect but any optimism about an end to the fighting in the breakaway republic of Croatia is tempered by the fact that it was the fourth negotiated cease-fire in three weeks.
1992 – A Scottish study finds that the French-made abortion pill RU-486 could also be used as a “morning-after” contraceptive by women who had had unprotected intercourse.
1993 – South African President F. W. de Klerk orders an army raid on an alleged terrorist group and five black youths are killed as controversy erupts because the Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize jointly to him and Nelson Mandela.
1994 – U.S. President Bill Clinton sends 4,000 U.S. troops and American warships to the Gulf to counter Iraqi deployment near Kuwaiti border.
1995 – Guatemalan Defense Minister General Mario Enriquez Morales October resigns amid controversy over an attack by soldiers that left 11 Indian peasants dead and 17 injured in the Alta Verapaz province.
1996 – Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat makes his first public visit to Israel and pledges to keep his police from firing again on Israeli soldiers.
1997 – Scientists report the Pathfinder probe’s exploration of Mars has yielded evidence that the planet was once hospitable to life.
2000 – Security forces battle independence activists armed with bows and arrows in Indonesia’s remote Irian Jaya province; 31 people are killed.
2001 – An SAS airliner taking off for Denmark from Milan, Italy, hits a private jet and explodes, killing all 114 people on both planes and four people on the ground.
2002 – Pakistan conducts tests of a medium-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. India responds with its own missile test.
2003 – The ethnic Hutu rebel group Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) sign a peace agreement with the Burundian government designed to end fighting in the country’s decade-long civil war.
2004 – Israel’s intelligence chief blames al-Qaida for the bombings one day earlier at resorts in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 34 people, including many Israelis, and wounding more than 100.
2005 – A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake in South Asia reduces villages to rubble and triggers landslides. More than 80,000 people are killed and over 3 million people are left homeless.
2006 – Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in Hungary call for the ouster of the Socialist prime minister because of his admission on a leaked tape that he had lied to the country about the economy.
2007 – Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Britain will cut its troops in Iraq to 2,500 starting in the spring.
2008 – Maldivian islanders vote in the first democratic presidential election in their nation’s history.
2009 -Pakistan’s U.S.-backed government questions why the powerful military publicly criticized a billion-dollar American aid bill, highlighting tensions in the country as the army prepares for an expected offensive against the Taliban and al-Qaida along the border with Afghanistan.
2010 – The Nobel committee awards its peace prize to imprisoned democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo on Friday, lending encouragement to China’s dissident community and sending a rebuke to the authoritarian government, which sharply condemns the award.
2011 – President Ali Abdullah Saleh makes vague comments that he is willing to leave power in his first major speech since returning to Yemen, but he gave no concrete plan for the future of the country.
2012 – A respected U.S. think tank says Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to arm a nuclear bomb within two to four months but would still face serious “engineering challenges”— and much longer delays — before it succeeds in making other components needed for a functioning warhead.
Allison Cockburn, Scottish poet (1713-1794); Juan Peron, Argentine president (1895-1974); Paul Hogan, Australian comedian-actor (1939–); Chevy Chase, U.S. actor/comedian (1943–); Sigourney Weaver, U.S. actress (1949–).
Thought For Today:
Politics are usually the executive expression of human immaturity — Vera Brittain, British author (1893-1970).