This day in history

Today is Monday, Oct. 7, the 280th day of 2019. There are 85 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Retired South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu is 88. Author Thomas Keneally is 84. Comedian Joy Behar is 77. Former National Security Council aide Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North is 76. Singer John Mellencamp is 68. Russian President Vladimir Putin is 67. Actress Mary Badham (Scout in ‘‘To Kill a Mockingbird”) is 67. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is 64. Olympic gold medal ice dancer Jayne Torvill is 62. Actor Dylan Baker is 61. TV personality Simon Cowell is 60. Rhythm-and-blues singer Toni Braxton is 52. Rock singer-musician Thom Yorke (Radiohead) is 51. Singer Taylor Hicks is 43. Neo-soul singer Nathaniel Rateliff is 41. Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts is 27.


In 1777, the second Battle of Saratoga began in the American Revolution. (British forces surrendered ten days later.)

In 1849, author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore, Md., at age 40.

In 1954, Marian Anderson became the first black singer hired by the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York.

In 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and Republican opponent Richard Nixon held their second televised debate, this one in Washington, D.C.

In 1979, Pope John Paul II concluded his week-long tour of the United States with a Mass on the Washington Mall.

In 1985, Palestinian gunmen hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean. (The hijackers shot and killed Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish-American tourist in a wheelchair, and pushed him overboard, before surrendering on Oct. 9.)

In 1991, University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of making sexually inappropriate comments when she worked for him; Thomas denied Hill’s allegations.

In 1992, representatives of the United States, Canada, and Mexico initialed the North American Free Trade Agreement during a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas, in the presence of President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and Mexican President Carlos Salinas.


In 1996, Fox News Channel made its debut.

In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was beaten and left tied to a wooden fencepost outside of Laramie, Wyo.; he died five days later. (Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney are serving life sentences for Shepard’s murder.)

In 2001, the war in Afghanistan started as the United States and Britain launched air attacks against military targets and Osama bin Laden’s training camps following the Sept. 11 attacks.

In 2004, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney conceded that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction as they tried to shift the Iraq War debate to a new issue, arguing that Hussein was abusing a UN oil-for-food program.

Last year, Brazilian voters chose a far-right former army captain, Jair Bolsonaro, in the first round of the country’s presidential election, but he fell just short of the margin needed to avoid a runoff.