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    This day in history

    Today is Saturday, Oct. 20, the 294th day of 2012. There are 72 days left in the year.

    Today’s Birthdays: Rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson is 75. Singer Tom Petty is 62. Actor Viggo Mortensen is 54. Rapper Snoop Dogg is 41. Actor John Krasinski is 33.

    In 1803, the US Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.

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    In 1944, during World War II, General Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore in the Philippines, 2½ years after saying, ‘‘I shall return.’’

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    In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee opened hearings into alleged Communist influence in the US film industry.

    In 1967, seven men were convicted in Meridian, Miss., of violating the civil rights of three slain civil rights workers.

    In 1968, Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

    In 1973, in the so-called ‘‘Saturday Night Massacre,’’ special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox was dismissed and Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William B. Ruckelshaus resigned.

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    In 2011, Moammar Gadhafi, 69, Libya’s dictator for 42 years, was killed as revolutionary fighters overwhelmed his hometown of Sirte.