Today in History
Today is Saturday, Oct. 17, the 291st day of 2020. There are 75 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Oct. 17, 1933, Albert Einstein arrived in the United States as a refugee from Nazi Germany.
On this date:
In 1777, British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered to American troops in Saratoga, New York, in a turning point of the Revolutionary War.
In 1814, the London Beer Flood inundated the St. Giles district of the British capital as vats of beer ruptured, sending more than 320,000 gallons of liquid into the streets; up to nine people were reported killed.
In 1931, mobster Al Capone was convicted in Chicago of income tax evasion. (Sentenced to 11 years in prison, Capone was released in 1939.)
In 1939, Frank Capra’s comedy-drama “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” starring James Stewart as an idealistic junior U.S. senator, had its premiere in the nation’s capital.
In 1967, Puyi (poo-yee), the last emperor of China, died in Beijing at age 61.
In 1973, Arab oil-producing nations announced they would begin cutting back oil exports to Western nations and Japan; the result was a total embargo that lasted until March 1974.
In 1979, Mother Teresa of India was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1989, an earthquake measuring 6.9 in magnitude struck northern California, killing 63 people and causing $6 billion worth of damage.
In 1990, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com) was created.
In 2007, President George W. Bush, raising Beijing’s ire, presented the Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold Medal and urged Chinese leaders to welcome the monk to Beijing.
In 2014, the World Health Organization acknowledged it had botched attempts to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff, lack of information and budget cuts.
In 2018, residents of the Florida Panhandle community of Mexico Beach who had fled Hurricane Michael a week earlier returned home to find homes, businesses and campers ripped to shreds; the storm had killed at least 59 people and caused more than $25 billion in damage in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.
Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI gave Australia its first saint, canonizing Mary MacKillop, a 19th century nun who was briefly excommunicated in part because her religious order had exposed a pedophile priest.
Five years ago: Thousands of migrants seeking a better life in Western Europe surged into Slovenia using a new route after Hungary sealed its border with Croatia. The final US Airways flight landed in Philadelphia, completing the last leg of its roundtrip journey. (The US Airways brand disappeared as the result of a merger with American Airlines.)
One year ago: Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings died at the age of 68; the sharecropper’s son had risen to become a civil rights champion and the chairman of one of the House panels leading an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. The U.S. ambassador to the European Union told House impeachment investigators that Trump had told him and other envoys to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on Ukraine policy; Gordon Sondland said he was “disappointed” by that directive. Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced that he would leave his job by the end of the year; he’d been under scrutiny over the role he played in the president’s dealings with Ukraine. Chicago teachers went on strike after their union and city officials failed to reach a contract deal in the nation’s third-largest school district. (The strike canceled 11 days of classes for more than 300,000 students.) Character actor Bill Macy, best known as the long-suffering foil to Bea Arthur’s unyielding feminist on the 1970s sitcom “Maude,” died in Los Angeles; he was 97.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Marsha Hunt is 103. Singer Jim Seals (Seals & Crofts) is 78. Singer Gary Puckett is 78. Actor Michael McKean is 73. Actor George Wendt is 72. Actor-singer Bill Hudson is 71. Astronaut Mae Jemison is 64. Country singer Alan Jackson is 62. Movie critic Richard Roeper is 61. Movie director Rob Marshall is 60. Actor Grant Shaud is 60. Animator Mike Judge is 58. Rock singer-musician Fred LeBlanc (Cowboy Mouth) is 57. Actor-comedian Norm Macdonald is 57. Singer Rene’ Dif is 53. Reggae singer Ziggy Marley is 52. Actor Wood Harris is 51. Singer Wyclef Jean (zhahn) is 51. World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els is 51. Singer Chris Kirkpatrick (‘N Sync) is 49. Rapper Eminem is 48. Actor Sharon Leal is 48. Actor Matthew Macfadyen is 46. Rock musician Sergio Andrade (an-DRAY’-day) is 43. Actor Felicity Jones is 37. Actor Chris Lowell is 36. Actor Dee Jay Daniels is 32.