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Today in History

October 26, 2021 GMT

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, Oct. 26, the 299th day of 2021. There are 66 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On October 26th, 2001, President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act, giving authorities unprecedented ability to search, seize, detain or eavesdrop in their pursuit of possible terrorists.

On this date:

In 1774, the First Continental Congress adjourned in Philadelphia.

In 1825, the Erie Canal opened in upstate New York, connecting Lake Erie and the Hudson River.

In 1861, the legendary Pony Express officially ceased operations, giving way to the transcontinental telegraph. (The last run of the Pony Express was completed the following month.)

In 1881, the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” took place in Tombstone, Arizona, as Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and “Doc” Holliday confronted Ike Clanton’s gang. Three members of Clanton’s gang were killed; Earp’s brothers and Holliday were wounded.

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In 1944, the World War II Battle of Leyte (LAY’-tay) Gulf ended in a major Allied victory over Japanese forces, whose naval capabilities were badly crippled.

In 1965, the Beatles received MBE medals as Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

In 1975, Anwar Sadat became the first Egyptian president to pay an official visit to the United States.

In 1979, South Korean President Park Chung-hee was shot to death by the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, Kim Jae-kyu.

In 1984, “Baby Fae,” a newborn with a severe heart defect, was given the heart of a baboon in an experimental transplant in Loma Linda, California. (Baby Fae lived 21 days with the animal heart.)

In 2002, a hostage siege by Chechen rebels at a Moscow theater ended with 129 of the 800-plus captives dead, most from a knockout gas used by Russian special forces who stormed the theater; 41 rebels also died.

In 2010, Iran began loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear power plant.

In 2018, former Fox News Channel personality Megyn Kelly was fired from her NBC morning show after triggering an uproar by suggesting it was OK for white people to wear blackface at Halloween.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama recalled his struggles with student loan debt as he unveiled a plan at the University of Colorado Denver aimed at giving millions of young people some relief on their payments. In a verdict that disappointed pro-democracy activists, two Egyptian policemen who beat a man to death were convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter and given a relatively light sentence in a case that helped spark Egypt’s uprising.

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Five years ago: The Pentagon worked to stave off a public relations nightmare, suspending efforts to force California National Guard troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan to repay enlistment bonuses that might have been improperly awarded. The Chicago Cubs beat Cleveland 5-1 in Game 2 for their first victory during a World Series since 1945.

One year ago: Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a deeply divided Senate, with Republicans overpowering Democrats to install President Donald Trump’s nominee days before the election and secure a likely conservative court majority for years to come. Police in Philadelphia shot and killed Walter Wallace, a 27-year-old Black man with a history of mental health problems, after yelling at him to drop his knife; the shooting, which brought the issues of policing and racism back into the presidential campaign in its closing days, was followed by days of civil unrest and store break-ins that led the mayor to impose an overnight curfew the following night.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jaclyn Smith is 76. TV host Pat Sajak is 75. Hillary Rodham Clinton is 74. Musician Bootsy Collins is 70. Actor James Pickens Jr. is 69. Rock musician David Was is 69. Rock musician Keith Strickland (The B-52s) is 68. Actor Lauren Tewes is 68. Actor D.W. Moffett is 67. Actor-singer Rita Wilson is 65. Actor Patrick Breen is 61. Actor Dylan McDermott is 60. Actor Cary Elwes is 59. Singer Natalie Merchant is 58. Actor Steve Valentine is 55. Country singer Keith Urban is 54. Actor Tom Cavanagh is 53. Actor Rosemarie DeWitt is 50. Actor Anthony Rapp is 50. Writer-producer Seth MacFarlane (TV: “Family Guy”) is 48. TV news correspondent Paula Faris is 46. Actor Lennon Parham is 46. Actor Florence Kasumba is 45. Actor Hal Ozsan is 45. Actor Jon Heder is 44. Singer Mark Barry (BBMak) is 43. Actor Jonathan Chase is 42. Actor Folake Olowofoyeku (foh-LAH’-kay oh-low-wow-foh-YAY’-koo) is 38. Olympic silver medal figure skater Sasha Cohen is 37. Rapper Schoolboy Q is 35. Actor Beulah Koale (TV: “Hawaii Five-0”) is 30.