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Today in History

Today is Friday, Oct. 7, the 280th day of 2022. There are 85 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Comedian and talk-show host Joy Behar is 80. Singer John Mellencamp is 71. Russian President Vladimir Putin is 70. Actor Mary Badham (To Kill a Mockingbird) is 70. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is 67. Recording executive and TV personality Simon Cowell is 63. Actor Paula Newsome is 61. R&B singer Toni Braxton is 55. Rock singer-musician Thom Yorke (Radiohead) is 54. Rock singer-musician Damian Kulash is 47. Actor Omar Miller is 44. Neo-soul singer Nathaniel Rateliff (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) is 44. Actor Shawn Ashmore is 43. MLB player Evan Longoria is 37. Actor Amber Stevens is 36. MLB outfielder Mookie Betts is 30.

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

In 1916, in the most lopsided victory in college football history, Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland University 222-0 in Atlanta.

In 1949, the Republic of East Germany was formed.

In 1982, the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical “Cats” opened on Broadway. (The show closed Sept. 10, 2000, after a record 7,485 performances.)

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 1989, Hungary’s Communist Party renounced Marxism in favor of democratic socialism during a party congress in Budapest.

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 and would go on to win Senate confirmation.

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 and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

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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 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.

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

In 2012, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won re-election for the third time. (Chavez died in March 2013 at age 58 after a two-year battle with cancer; he was succeeded by Vice President Nicolas Maduro.)

In 2017, country music star Jason Aldean, who had been on stage at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas less than a week earlier when a gunman opened fire on the crowd, paid tribute to the victims and to the late Tom Petty by opening “Saturday Night Live” with Petty’s song, “I Won’t Back Down.” Protesters rallied across Russia in a challenge to President Vladimir Putin on his 65th birthday; heeding calls from opposition leader Alexei Navalny to pressure authorities into letting him enter the presidential race.

In 2020, 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.

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Last year, abortions quickly resumed in at least six Texas clinics after a federal judge halted the most restrictive abortion law in the nation. (A federal appeals court would allow the law to go back into effect the following day.) The Senate dodged a US debt disaster, voting to extend the government’s borrowing authority into December and temporarily avert an unprecedented federal default. (The House would approve the extension days later.) Google said it would crack down on digital ads promoting false claims about climate change, in hopes of limiting revenue for climate change deniers and stopping the spread of misinformation.