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This day in history

Thursday, Oct. 18, is the 292d day of 2012. There are 74 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Rock ’n’ roll performer Chuck Berry is 86. Sportscaster Keith Jackson is 84. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka is 73. Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova is 56. Boxer Thomas Hearns is 54. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is 52. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is 51. Jazz singer-musician Esperanza Spalding is 28.

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In 1931, inventor Thomas Alva Edison died in West Orange, N.J., at age 84.

In 1962, James D. Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins earned the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for determining the double-helix molecular structure of DNA.

In 1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, overriding President Nixon’s veto.

In 1977, West German commandos stormed a hijacked Lufthansa jetliner on the ground in Mogadishu, Somalia, freeing all 86 hostages and killing three of the four hijackers.

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