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October 4, 2012

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Oct. 4, the 278th day of 2012. There are 88 days left in the year.

Today’s highlights in history:

On Oct. 4, 1957, the Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit. James R. Hoffa was elected president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The family comedy series “Leave It to Beaver” premiered on CBS.

On this date:

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

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

In 1861, during the Civil War, the United States Navy authorized construction of the first ironclad ship, the USS Monitor.

In 1887, the International Herald Tribune had its beginnings as the Paris Herald, a European edition of the New York Herald.

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

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

In 1976, agriculture secretary Earl Butz resigned in the wake of a controversy over a joke he’d made about blacks.

In 1980, fire broke out aboard the Dutch cruise vessel Prinsendam in the Gulf of Alaska, forcing the 520 people aboard to abandon ship; no deaths or serious injury resulted. (The ship capsized and sank a week later.)

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: John Walker Lindh, the so-called “American Taliban,” received a 20-year sentence after a sobbing, halting plea for forgiveness before a federal judge in Alexandria, Va.. In a federal court in Boston, a laughing Richard Reid pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes as he declared his hatred for America and his loyalty to Osama bin Laden.

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