Today is Thursday, Oct. 7, the 280th day of 2021. There are 85 days left in the year.

Highlight in History:

On Oct. 7, 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 in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

On this date:

In 1765, the Stamp Act Congress convened in New York to draw up colonial grievances against England.

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

In 1910, a major wildfire devastated the northern Minnesota towns of Spooner and Baudette, charring at least 300,000 acres; some 40 people are believed to have died.

In 1949, the Republic of East Germany was formed.

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

In 1985, Palestinian gunmen hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro (ah-KEE’-leh LOW’-roh) 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, trade 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 (muhl-ROO’-nee) and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

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, Wyoming; he died five days later. (Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney are serving life sentences for Shepard’s murder.)

In 2003, California voters recalled Gov. Gray Davis and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger their new governor.

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 Saddam was abusing a U.N. oil-for-food program.

Ten years ago: The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman, who began pushing for change in Yemen long before the Arab Spring.

Five years ago: The U.S. accused Russia of hacking American political sites and email accounts in an effort to interfere with the upcoming presidential election and also directly accused Russia of war crimes in Syria; Moscow dismissed the allegations. 

One year ago: President Donald Trump returned to the Oval Office for the first time since he was diagnosed with COVID-19; he credited an experimental drug treatment with helping his recovery. Debating from behind plexiglass shields, Vice President Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris zeroed in on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Harris labeling it “the greatest failure of any presidential administration” while Pence defended the overall response. 

Today’s Birthdays: Retired South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu is 90. Author Thomas Keneally is 86. Comedian Joy Behar is 79. Former National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver North (ret.) is 78. Rock musician Kevin Godley (10cc) is 76. Actor Jill Larson is 74. Country singer Kieran Kane is 72. 

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