Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Today in History....October 17

* 539 Before the Common era, King Cyrus the Great of Persia marches into the city of Babylon, releasing the Jews from almost 70 years of exile and making the first Human Rights Declaration

* 1604, German astronomer Johannes Kepler observes that an exceptionally bright star had suddenly appeared in the constellation. Ophiuchus, which turned out to be the last supernova to have been observed in our own galaxy, the Milky Way

* 1777, American troops defeat the British in the Battle of Saratoga

* 1888, Thomas Edison files a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first movie)

* 1912, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia declare war on the Ottoman Empire, joining Montenegro in the First Balkan War

* 1931, Al Capone convicted of income tax evasion

* 1933, Albert Einstein, fleeing the Nazis, ym"sh, moves to America

* 1937, Huey, Dewey and Louie, Donald Duck's three almost identical nephews, first appear in a newspaper comic strip

* 1941, for the first time in World War II, a German submarine attacks an American ship

* 1965, the New York World's Fair closes after a two year run. More than 51 million people had attended the two-year event

* 1977, 4 days after it was hijacked by practitioners of that "religion of peace", Lufthansa Flight 181 lands in Mogadishu, Somalia, where a team of German GSG 9 commandos later rescues all remaining hostages on board

* 1979, the Department of Education Organization Act is signed into law creating the US Department of Education and US Department of Health and Human Services. Both replace the Department of Health, Education and Welfare

* 2002, Ira Einhorn, the '70s hippie guru who had fled to Europe after being charged with murder, was convicted in Philadelphia of killing his girlfriend, Holly Maddux, and stuffing her corpse in his closet a quarter of a century earlier. (Einhorn was later sentenced to life without parole.)

* 2006, President Bush signed legislation authorizing tough interrogation of terror suspects and smoothing the way for trials before military commissions. ALSO: The United States population reaches 300 million

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