Today is Thursday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2021. There are 71 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 21, 1966, 144 people, 116 of them children, were killed when a coal waste landslide engulfed a school and some 20 houses in Aberfan, Wales.

On this date:

In 1797, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, also known as “Old Ironsides,” was christened in Boston’s harbor.

In 1805, a British fleet commanded by Adm. Horatio Nelson defeated a French-Spanish fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar; Nelson, however, was killed.

In 1879, Thomas Edison perfected a workable electric light at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J.

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. troops captured the German city of Aachen (AH’-kuhn).

In 1945, women in France were allowed to vote in parliamentary elections for the first time.

In 1967, the Israeli destroyer INS Eilat (ay-LAHT’) was sunk by Egyptian missile boats near Port Said (sah-EED’); 47 Israeli crew members were lost. Tens of thousands of Vietnam War protesters began two days of demonstrations in Washington, D.C.

In 1969, beat poet and author Jack Kerouac died in St. Petersburg, Fla., at age 47.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon nominated Lewis F. Powell and William H. Rehnquist to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Both nominees were confirmed.)

In 2001, Washington, D.C., postal worker Thomas L. Morris Jr. died of inhalation anthrax as officials began testing thousands of postal employees.

In 2012, former senator and 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern, 90, died in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

In 2014, North Korea abruptly freed Jeffrey Fowle, an American, nearly six months after he was arrested for leaving a Bible in a nightclub. Former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, 93, died in Washington.

In 2015, Vice President Joe Biden announced he would not be a candidate in the 2016 White House campaign, solidifying Hillary Rodham Clinton’s status as the Democratic front-runner.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama declared that America’s long and deeply unpopular war in Iraq would be over by the end of 2011 and that all U.S. troops “will definitely be home for the holidays.”

Five years ago: Cyberattacks on server farms of a key internet firm repeatedly disrupted access to major websites and online services including Twitter, Netflix and PayPal across the United States.

One year ago: Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, told CNN that he had voted in the Nov. 3 election, but not for Donald Trump. Former President Barack Obama made his first in-person campaign pitch for Joe Biden, urging voters in Philadelphia, especially Black men, not to sit out the election and risk seeing Trump reelected. Spain became the first western European country to reach more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases. The Justice Department said drugmaker Purdue Pharma, the company behind the powerful prescription painkiller OxyContin that experts said had helped touch off an opioid epidemic, would plead guilty to federal criminal charges as part of a settlement of more than $8 billion. At least 10 bodies were found in an unmarked mass grave in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where investigators were searching for the remains of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Joyce Randolph is 97. Rock singer Manfred Mann is 81. Musician Steve Cropper (Booker T. & the MG’s) is 80. Singer Elvin Bishop is 79. TV’s Judge Judy Sheindlin is 79. Actor Everett McGill is 76. Musician Lee Loughnane (LAHK’-nayn) (Chicago) is 75. Actor Dick Christie is 73. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is 72. Actor LaTanya Richardson Jackson is 72. Musician Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Go’s) is 68. Movie director Catherine Hardwicke is 66. Singer Julian Cope is 64. Rock musician Steve Lukather (Toto) is 64. Actor Ken Watanabe (wah-tah-NAH’-bee) is 62. Actor Melora Walters is 61. Rock singer-musician Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator) is 50. Christian rock musician Charlie Lowell (Jars of Clay) is 48. Actor Jeremy Miller is 45. Country singer Matthew Ramsey (Old Dominion) is 44. Actor Will Estes is 43. Actor Michael McMillian is 43. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian (kahr-DASH’-ee-uhn) West is 41. Actor Matt Dallas is 39. Actor Charlotte Sullivan is 38. Actor Aaron Tveit (tuh-VAYT’) is 38. Actor Glenn Powell is 33. Country singer Kane Brown is 28.

Wednesday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2021. There are 72 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 20, 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee opened hearings into alleged Communist influence and infiltration in the U.S. motion picture industry.

On this date:

In 1714, the coronation of Britain’s King George I took place in Westminster Abbey.

In 1803, the U.S. Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.

In 1936, Helen Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, died in Forest Hills, N.Y., at age 70.

In 1967, a jury in Meridian, Mississippi, convicted seven men of violating the civil rights of slain civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner; the seven received prison terms ranging from 3 to 10 years.

In 1968, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

In 1973, in the so-called “Saturday Night Massacre,” special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox was dismissed and Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William B. Ruckelshaus resigned.

In 1976, 78 people were killed when the Norwegian tanker Frosta rammed the commuter ferry George Prince on the Mississippi River near New Orleans.

In 1977, three members of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, were killed along with three others in the crash of a chartered plane near McComb, Mississippi.

In 1987, 10 people were killed when an Air Force jet crashed into a Ramada Inn hotel near Indianapolis International Airport after the pilot, who was trying to make an emergency landing, ejected safely.

In 1990, three members of the rap group 2 Live Crew were acquitted by a jury in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., of violating obscenity laws with an adults-only concert in nearby Hollywood the previous June.

In 1994, actor Burt Lancaster died in Los Angeles at age 80.

In 2018, Saudi Arabia announced that U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL’ khahr-SHOHK’-jee) had been killed in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul; there was immediate international skepticism over the Saudi account that Khashoggi had died during a “fistfight.” (A U.S. intelligence report later concluded that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had likely approved Khashoggi’s killing by a team of Saudi security and intelligence officials.)

Ten years ago: Moammar Gadhafi, 69, Libya’s dictator for 42 years, was killed as revolutionary fighters overwhelmed his hometown of Sirte (SURT) and captured the last major bastion of resistance two months after his regime fell.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama defended his health care program, long a target of Republicans and recently criticized by some Democrats, saying millions of Americans “now know the financial security of health insurance” because of the Affordable Care Act. The Los Angeles Sparks defeated the defending champion Minnesota Lynx for their first title in 14 years in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals.

One year ago: Two weeks before Election Day, President Donald Trump called on Attorney General William Barr to immediately launch an investigation into unverified claims about Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter, effectively demanding that the Justice Department abandon its historic resistance to getting involved in elections. More than 75,000 people in Wisconsin cast ballots on the first day of early in-person voting in the presidential battleground state. (More than 1 million Wisconsin voters had already returned ballots by mail.) The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 in the opening game of a World Series played before just 11,388 fans at a neutral site in Arlington, Texas because of the coronavirus pandemic. James Randi, a magician who later challenged spoon benders, mind readers and faith healers with such voracity that he became regarded as the country’s foremost skeptic, died at 92.

Today’s Birthdays: Japan’s Empress Michiko is 87. Rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson is 84. Former actor Rev. Mother Dolores Hart is 83. Actor William “Rusty” Russ is 71. Actor Melanie Mayron is 69. Retired MLB All-Star Keith Hernandez is 68. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., is 66. Movie director Danny Boyle is 65. Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is 64. Actor Viggo Mortensen is 63. Vice President Kamala Harris is 57. Rock musician Jim Sonefeld (Hootie & The Blowfish) is 57. Rock musician Doug Eldridge (Oleander) is 54. Journalist Sunny Hostin (TV: “The View”) is 53. Political commentator and blogger Michelle Malkin is 51. Actor Kenneth Choi is 50. Rapper Snoop Dogg is 50. Singer Dannii Minogue is 50. Singer Jimi Westbrook (country group Little Big Town) is 50. Country musician Jeff Loberg is 45. Actor/comedian Dan Fogler is 45. Rock musician Jon Natchez (The War on Drugs) is 45. Actor Sam Witwer is 44. Actor John Krasinski is 42. Rock musician Daniel Tichenor (Cage the Elephant) is 42. Actor Katie Featherston is 39. Actor Jennifer Nicole Freeman is 36.

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