Today is Wednesday, Oct. 17, the 291st day of 2012. There are 75 days left in the year.
Today’s highlight in history:
On Oct. 17, 1777, British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered to American troops in Saratoga, N.Y., in a turning point of the Revolutionary War.
On this date:
In 1610, French King Louis XIII, age nine, was crowned at Reims, five months after the assassination of his father, Henry IV.
In 1711, Jupiter Hammon, the first black poet to have his work published in America, was born on Long Island, N.Y., into a lifetime of slavery.
In 1807, Britain declared it would continue to reclaim British-born sailors from American ships and ports regardless of whether they held U.S. citizenship.
In 1912, Pope John Paul I was born Albino Luciani at Forno di Canale, Italy.
In 1931, mobster Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion. (Sentenced to 11 years in prison, Capone was released in 1939.)
In 1933, Albert Einstein arrived in the United States as a refugee from Nazi Germany.
In 1941, the U.S. destroyer Kearny was damaged by a German torpedo off the coast of Iceland; 11 people died.
In 1961, French police attacked Algerians protesting a curfew in Paris. (The resulting death toll varies widely, with some estimates of up to 200.)
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 1987, first lady Nancy Reagan underwent a modified radical mastectomy at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.
In 1989, an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck northern California, killing 63 people and causing $6 billion worth of damage.
In 1992, Japanese exchange student Yoshi Hattori was fatally shot by Rodney Peairs in Baton Rouge, La., after Hattori and his American host mistakenly knocked on Peairs’ door while looking for a Halloween party. (Peairs was acquitted of manslaughter, but in a civil trial was ordered to pay more than $650,000 to Hattori’s family.)
Ten years ago: Ira Einhorn, the ‘70s hippie guru who’d fled to Europe after being charged with murder, was convicted in Philadelphia of killing his girlfriend, Holly Maddux, and stuffing her corpse in his closet a quarter-century earlier. (Einhorn was later sentenced to life without parole.)
Five years ago: 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.
One year ago: Rolling through small Southern towns in a campaign-style bus, President Barack Obama pressed lawmakers back in Washington to start taking up pieces of his rejected jobs bill and mocked the Republicans who had shot it down in toto.
Today’s birthdays: Actress Marsha Hunt is 95. Actress Julie Adams is 86. Newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin is 82. Country singer Earl Thomas Conley is 71. Singers Jim Seals (Seals & Crofts) and Gary Puckett are 70. Actor Michael McKean is 65. Actors Margot Kidder and George Wendt are 64. Actor-singer Bill Hudson is 63. Astronaut Mae Jemison is 56. Country singer Alan Jackson is 54. Movie critic Richard Roeper is 53. Movie director Rob Marshall and actor Grant Shaud re 52. Animator Mike Judge is 50. Rock singer-musician Fred LeBlanc (Cowboy Mouth) and actor-comedian Norm Macdonald are 49. Singer Rene’ Dif is 45. Reggae singer Ziggy Marley is 44. Golfer Ernie Els is 43. Singer Chris Kirkpatrick (‘N Sync) is 41. Rapper Eminem, singer Wyclef Jean and actress Sharon Leal are 40. Actor Matthew Macfadyen is 38. Rock musician Sergio Andrade is 35. Actor Chris Lowell is 28. Actor Dee Jay Daniels is 24.
Thought for today: “The thinking of a genius does not proceed logically. It leaps with great ellipses. It pulls knowledge from God knows where.” — Dorothy Thompson, American journalist (1894-1961).