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This Day in History

Today is Sunday, Oct. 20, the 293d day of 2013. There are 72 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Actor William Christopher is 81. Japan’s Empress Michiko is 79. Rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson is 76. Former actress Rev. Mother Dolores Hart is 75. Singer Tom Petty is 63. Actor William ‘‘Rusty’’ Russ is 63. Actress Melanie Mayron is 61. Retired MLB All-Star Keith Hernandez is 60. Movie director Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is 57. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is 56. Actor Viggo Mortensen is 55. Rock musician Jim Sonefeld (Hootie & The Blowfish) is 49. Rock musician David Ryan is 49. Rock musician Doug Eldridge (Oleander) is 46. Political commentator Michelle Malkin is 43. Rapper Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg) is 42. Singer Dannii Minogue is 42. Singer Jimi Westbrook (country gtoup Little Big Town) is 42. Country musician Jeff Loberg is 37. Actor Sam Witwer is 36. Actor John Krasinski is 34. Rock musician Daniel Tichenor (Cage the Elephant) is 34. Actress Katie Featherston is 31. Actress Jennifer Nicole Freeman is 28.

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In 1740, Maria Theresa became ruler of Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia upon the death of her father, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI.

In 1803, the US Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.

In 1903, a joint commission ruled in favor of the United States in a boundary dispute between Alaska and Canada.

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

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

In 1964, the 31st president of the United States, Herbert Hoover, died at age 90.

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,’’ Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox was dismissed and Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and deputy attorney general William Ruckelshaus resigned.

In 1977, three members of rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd died in the crash of a chartered plane near McComb, Miss.

In 1979, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum was dedicated in Boston.

In 1987, 10 people died when an Air Force jet crashed into a hotel near Indianapolis International Airport after the pilot, who tried to make an emergency landing, ejected safely.

In 1990, three members of the rap group 2 Live Crew were acquitted by a jury in Fort Lauderdale of violating obscenity laws with an adults-only concert the previous June.

In 2002, with a US invasion looming, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein issued an decree releasing everyone from prison.

In 2003, President George W. Bush pushed North Korea’s nuclear threat to the forefront of a 21-nation Asia-Pacific summit in Thailand. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip, killing 10 people. A judge in Eagle, Colorado, ordered Kobe Bryant to stand trial for sexual assault. (The criminal case was later dropped).

In 2008, a rising wave of optimism lifted Wall Street, propelling the Dow Jones industrials up more than 400 points on more signs of a reviving credit market and hints from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke that the government would take more steps to help the economy.

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