Today in History – Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016


Today is Wednesday, Oct. 26, the 300th day of 2016. There are 66 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 26, 1861, the legendary Pony Express officially ceased operations, giving way to the transcontinental telegraph. (The last run of the Pony Express was completed the following month.)

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On this date:

In 1774, the First Continental Congress adjourned in Philadelphia.

In 1825, the Erie Canal opened in upstate New York, connecting Lake Erie and the Hudson River.

In 1881, the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” took place in Tombstone, Arizona.

In 1921, the Chicago Theatre, billed as “the Wonder Theatre of the World,” first opened.

In 1944, the World War II Battle of Leyte Gulf ended in a major Allied victory over Japanese forces, whose naval capabilities were badly crippled.

In 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed a measure raising the minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents an hour.

In 1958, Pan American Airways flew its first Boeing 707 jetliner from New York to Paris in 8 hours and 41 minutes.

In 1965, The Beatles received MBE medals as Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

In 1972, national security adviser Henry Kissinger declared, “Peace is at hand” in Vietnam. Aviation innovator Igor Sikorsky died in Easton, Connecticut, at age 83.

In 1984, “Baby Fae,” a newborn with a severe heart defect, was given the heart of a baboon in an experimental transplant in Loma Linda, California. (Baby Fae lived 21 days with the animal heart.)

In 1994, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Prime Minister Abdel Salam Majali of Jordan signed a peace treaty during a ceremony at the Israeli-Jordanian border attended by President Bill Clinton.

In 2001, President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act, giving authorities unprecedented ability to search, seize, detain or eavesdrop in their pursuit of possible terrorists. Former nurse’s aide Chante Mallard (SHAHN’-tay MAL’-urd) struck a homeless man, Gregory Biggs, with her car on a Fort Worth, Texas, highway; Biggs, who became lodged in the windshield, died in Mallard’s garage after she refused to seek assistance for him and instead enlisted the help of a friend and his cousin to dispose of the body. (Mallard was later convicted of murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison.)

Ten years ago: A wildfire in Southern California killed five firefighters (investigators later determined the cause of the blaze was arson). President George W. Bush signed a measure authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers 5-4 to take a 3-1 lead in the World Series.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama recalled his struggles with student loan debt as he unveiled a plan at the University of Colorado Denver that could give millions of young people some relief on their payments. In a verdict that disappointed pro-democracy activists, two Egyptian policemen who beat a man to death were convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter and given a relatively light sentence in a case that helped spark Egypt’s uprising.

One year ago: A 7.5-magnitude quake in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan caused extensive damage in neighboring Pakistan and killed around 400 people. The World Health Organization, throwing its global weight behind years of experts’ warnings, declared that processed meats raised the risk of colon and stomach cancer and that red meat was probably harmful, too.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Shelley Morrison is 80. Actress Jaclyn Smith is 71. TV host Pat Sajak is 70. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton is 69. Singer Maggie Roche (The Roches) is 65. Musician Bootsy Collins is 65. Actor James Pickens Jr. is 64. Rock musician Keith Strickland (The B-52’s) is 63. Actor D.W. Moffett is 62. Actress-singer Rita Wilson is 60. The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, is 57. Actor Patrick Breen is 56. Actor Dylan McDermott is 55. Actor Cary Elwes is 54. Singer Natalie Merchant is 53. Actor Steve Valentine is 50. Country singer Keith Urban is 49. Actor Tom Cavanagh is 48. Actress Rosemarie DeWitt is 45. Actor Anthony Rapp is 45. Writer-producer Seth MacFarlane (TV: “Family Guy”) is 43. TV correspondent and co-host Paula Faris (TV: “The View”) is 41. Actress Lennon Parham is 41. Actor Hal Ozsan is 40. Actor Jon Heder is 39. Singer Mark Barry (BBMak) is 38. Actor Jonathan Chase is 37. Olympic silver medal figure skater Sasha Cohen is 32. Rapper Schoolboy Q is 30.

Thought for Today: “Facts are many, but the truth is one.” — Sir Rabindranath Tagore (ruh-BIHN’-druh-naht tuh-GOHR’), Indian Nobel Prize-winning poet (1861-1941).

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