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October 31, 2012

Today in History

Today is Sunday, Nov. 4, the 309th day of 2012. There are 57 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Nov. 4, 1942, during World War II, Axis forces retreated from El Alamein in North Africa in a major victory for British forces commanded by Lt. Gen. Bernard Montgomery.

On this date:

In 1862, inventor Richard J. Gatling received a U.S. patent for his rapid-fire Gatling gun.

In 1884, Democrat Grover Cleveland was elected to his first term as president, defeating Republican James G. Blaine.

In 1922, the entrance to King Tutankhamen's tomb was discovered in Egypt.

In 1924, Nellie T. Ross of Wyoming was elected the nation's first female governor to serve out the remaining term of her late husband, William B. Ross.

In 1939, the United States modified its neutrality stance in World War II, allowing "cash and carry" purchases of arms by belligerents, a policy favoring Britain and France.

In 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president, defeating Democrat Adlai Stevenson. The highly secretive National Security Agency came into existence.

In 1979, the Iran hostage crisis began as militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran, seizing its occupants; for some, it was the start of 444 days of captivity.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan won the White House as he defeated President Jimmy Carter by a strong margin.

In 1987, 6-year-old Elizabeth "Lisa" Steinberg was pronounced dead at a New York City hospital in a child-abuse case that sparked national outrage; her illegal adoptive father, Joel Steinberg, served nearly 17 years behind bars for manslaughter.

In 1991, Ronald Reagan opened his presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif.; in attendance were President George H.W. Bush and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald R. Ford and Richard Nixon — the first-ever gathering of five past and present U.S. chief executives.

In 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli minutes after attending a festive peace rally.

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