Today in history

By The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, Oct. 4, the 278th day of 2016. There are 88 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 4, 1976, Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz resigned in the wake of a controversy over an obscene joke he’d made that was derogatory to blacks.

On this date:

In 1777, Gen. George Washington’s troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pennsylvania, resulting in heavy American casualties.

In 1822, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, was born in Delaware, Ohio.

In 1931, the comic strip “Dick Tracy,” created by Chester Gould, made its debut.

In 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps.

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit. The television series “Leave It to Beaver” premiered on CBS.

In 1959, the Soviet Union launched Luna 3, a space probe which transmitted images of the far side of the moon.

In 1960, an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-188A Electra crashed on takeoff from Boston’s Logan International Airport, killing all but 10 of the 72 people on board.

In 1966, the African kingdom of Lesotho (leh-SOO’-too) gained its independence from Britain.

In 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin, 27, was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room.

In 1985, Islamic Jihad issued a statement saying it had killed American hostage William Buckley. (Fellow hostage David Jacobsen later said he believed Buckley had died of torture injuries four months earlier.)

In 1990, for the first time in nearly six decades, German lawmakers met in the Reichstag for the first meeting of reunified Germany’s parliament.

In 1991, 26 nations, including the United States, signed the Madrid Protocol, which imposed a 50-year ban on oil exploration and mining in Antarctica.

Ten years ago: The domain name was registered (the website began publishing leaked classified information in Dec. 2006). Ousted Hewlett-Packard Chairwoman Patricia Dunn, a company officer and three investigators were charged with violating California privacy laws in a corporate spying scandal. (The charges were later dropped, with a judge calling their conduct a “betrayal of trust and honor” that nonetheless did not rise to the level of criminal activity.) American Roger D. Kornberg won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. New York Times correspondent R.W. Apple Jr. died in Washington at age 71.

Five years ago: Three U.S.-born scientists, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess, won the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace. The NBA canceled the entire 114-game preseason schedule because a new collective bargaining agreement had not been reached with the National Basketball Players Association.

One year ago: President Barack Obama paid tribute to firefighters who had died in the line of duty and cited the sacrifices they’d made in service to a grateful nation during an annual memorial service at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Pope Francis opened a divisive meeting of the world’s bishops on family issues by forcefully asserting that marriage was an indissoluble bond between man and woman, but saying the church had to “seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy.”

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Leroy Van Dyke is 87. Actress Felicia Farr is 84. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Sam Huff is 82. Actor Eddie Applegate is 81. Author Roy Blount Jr. is 75. Author Anne Rice is 75. Actress Lori Saunders (TV: “Petticoat Junction”) is 75. Baseball Hall of Famer Tony La Russa is 72. Actor Clifton Davis is 71. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, is 70. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is 70. Actress Susan Sarandon is 70. Blues musician Duke Robillard is 68. Playwright Lee Blessing is 67. Actor Armand Assante is 67. Actor Alan Rosenberg is 66. Actor Christoph Waltz is 60. Actor Bill Fagerbakke (FAY’-guhr-bah-kee) is 59. Music producer Russell Simmons is 59. Actress Kyra Schon (Film: “Night of the Living Dead”) is 59. Actress-singer Wendy Makkena is 58. Musician Chris Lowe (The Pet Shop Boys) is 57. Country musician Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard (Sawyer Brown) is 56. Actor David W. Harper is 55. Singer Jon Secada is 55. TV personality John Melendez is 51. Actor Liev Schreiber is 49. Actor Abraham Benrubi is 47. Country singer-musician Heidi Newfield is 46. Singer-guitarist M. Ward (She & Him) is 43. Actress Alicia (ah-LEE’-see-ah) Silverstone is 40. Actress Dana Davis is 38. Actor Phillip Glasser is 38. Rock singer-musician Marc Roberge (O.A.R.) is 38. Actor Brandon Barash is 37. Actress Rachael Leigh Cook is 37. Actor Tim Peper is 36. Actor Jimmy Workman is 36. Bassist Cubbie Fink is 34. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jessica Benson (3lw) is 29. Actor Michael Charles Roman is 29. Actress Melissa Benoist is 28. NBA All-Star Derrick Rose is 28. Actress Dakota Johnson is 27. Figure skater Kimmie Meisner is 27. Actress Leigh-Anne Pinnock (Little Mix) is 25. Actor Ryan Scott Lee is 20.

Thought for Today: “He who confers a favor should at once forget it, if he is not to show a sordid, ungenerous spirit.” — Demosthenes, Greek statesman (384 B.C.-322 B.C.).

By The Associated Press

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