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    This day in history

    Today is Wednesday, Oct. 10, the 284th day of 2012. There are 82 days left in the year.

    Today’s Birthdays: Former Illinois senator Adlai Stevenson III is 82. Actor Peter Coyote is 71. Entertainer Ben Vereen is 66. Singer John Prine is 66. Rock singer David Lee Roth is 58. Country singer Tanya Tucker is 54. Actress Julia Sweeney is 53. Rock musician Jim Glennie (James) is 49. Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre is 43. Race driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 38. Singer Mya is 33. Actor Dan Stevens (TV: ‘‘Downton Abbey”) is 30.

    In 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy was established in Annapolis, Md.


    In 1911, California voters approved Proposition 4, giving women the right to vote, and Proposition 7, which established the initiative process for proposing and enacting new laws.

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    In 1913, the Panama Canal was effectively completed as President Woodrow Wilson sent a signal from the White House by telegraph, setting off explosives that destroyed a section of the Gamboa dike.

    In 1935, the George Gershwin opera ‘‘Porgy and Bess,’’ featuring an all-black cast, opened on Broadway; it ran for 124 performances.

    In 1938, Nazi Germany completed its annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland.

    In 1943, Chiang Kai-shek took the oath of office as president of China.


    In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower apologized to the finance minister of Ghana, Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, after the official was refused seating in a Howard Johnson’s restaurant near Dover, Del.

    In 1962, President John F. Kennedy, responding to the Thalidomide birth defects crisis, signed an amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requiring pharmaceutical companies to prove that their products were safe and effective prior to marketing.

    In 1967, the Outer Space Treaty, prohibiting the placing of weapons of mass destruction in space, entered into force.

    In 1970, Quebec Labor Minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped by the Quebec Liberation Front, a separatist group. (Laporte’s body was found a week later.) Fiji became independent after nearly a century of British rule.

    In 1973, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, accused of accepting bribes, pleaded no contest to one count of federal income tax evasion, and resigned his office.


    In 1982, Father Maximilian Kolbe, who died in the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp, was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

    In 2002, the House voted 296-133 to give President George W. Bush the broad authority he’d sought to use military force against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, with or without UN support.