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This day in history

Monday, Oct. 21, is the 294th day of 2013. There are 71 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: TV’s Judge Judy Sheindlin is 71. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is 64. Actress-author Carrie Fisher is 57. Actor Ken Watanabe is 54. Actress Melora Walters is 53. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian is 33.

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In 1797, the US Navy frigate Constitution, also known as ‘‘Old Ironsides,’’ was christened in Boston’s harbor.

In 1879, Thomas Edison perfected a workable electric light at his lab in Menlo Park, N.J.

In 1960, Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon clashed in their fourth and final presidential debate.

In 1962, the Seattle World’s Fair closed after six months. (President Kennedy, scheduled to attend the closing ceremony, canceled because of what was described as a ‘‘head cold”; the actual reason was the Cuban Missile Crisis.)

In 1969, beat poet and author Jack Kerouac died in St. Petersburg, Fla., at age 47.

In 2003, invoking a hastily passed law, Governor Jeb Bush of Florida ordered a feeding tube reinserted into Terry Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman at the center of a bitter right-to-die
battle. Boston antibusing activist Louise Day Hicks died at age 87.

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