Sunday, October 13

Today is Sunday, October 13, the 286th day of 2013. There are 79 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1775 – The U.S. Navy is founded as the Continental Congress orders the construction of a naval fleet.

1792 – The cornerstone of the Executive Mansion, later known as the White House, is laid during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

1815 – British occupy South Atlantic island of Ascension to prevent Napoleon’s escape from St. Helena, the closest island.

1880 – Transvaal declares independence from Britain.

1889 – Boers rebel against British in South Africa.

1923 – Ankara, formerly Angora, becomes new capital of Turkey.

1937 – Germany guarantees inviolability of Belgium.

1943 – Italy, during World War II, declares war on Germany — its former Axis partner.

1952 – Egypt reaches agreement with Sudan on Nile waters.

1957 – The East German government seals its borders and recalls all East-mark holdings for conversion into a new currency.

1960 – Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy participate in the third televised debate of their presidential campaign, with Nixon in Hollywood, California, and Kennedy in New York.

1968 – New military government in Panama names civilian cabinet.

1969 – Soviet Union sends third spacecraft into orbit in as many days, putting seven cosmonauts in space.

1970 – Canada and China announce they will establish diplomatic relations. Taiwan promptly breaks ties with Canada.

1974 – Iran keeps its troops in Oman and sends reinforcements to help the government army fight rebel forces there despite an official Omani announcement that Teheran was withdrawing its soldiers.

1981 – Voters in Egypt participate in a referendum to elect Vice President Hosni Mubarak as the new president, one week after the assassination of Anwar Sadat.

1985 – Tamil guerrillas attack government troops in two cease-fire violations in Sri Lanka.

1987 – Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias Sanchez wins Nobel Peace Prize for sponsoring plan to end civil wars in Central America.

1988 – Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz becomes first Arabic-language writer to win Nobel Prize for literature.

1990 – Gen. Michel Aoun, the Christian army commander who defied the Syrian-backed Lebanese government for more than two years, surrenders power in the face of a Syrian-led military attack during the civil war.

1991 – Twenty-one blacks are killed in a series of attacks in South Africa’s black townships.

1992 – The pyramids, the Sphinx and other monuments survive Cairo earthquake that kills at least 400 and injures more than 4,000.

1993 – A fanatic fan of tennis star Steffi Graf is convicted in the stabbing of rival Monica Seles and receives a two-year suspended sentence.

1994 – In the largest deal between software firms, Intuit Inc. accepts a US$1.5 billion takeover offer from Microsoft Corp.

1995 – A Dusseldorf court finds four young right-wing extremists guilty of setting fire to a house in Solingen, killing five Turks in the deadliest attack on foreigners in Germany since the Nazi era.

1996 – In response to strikes in its Canadian plants, General Motors Corp. lays off more than 1,300 workers at its Cadillac assembly plant outside Detroit.

1997 – Queen Elizabeth II begins visit to India to mark the 50th anniversary of the subcontinent’s independence from Britain.

1999 – French lawmakers adopt a law giving unwed gay and straight couples the same rights previously limited to the married. Similar legislation already exists in several European countries.

2000 – Muslim Christian riots result in the deaths of 13 Nigerians in the capital Lagos.

2001 – President Hosni Mubarak issues an order that 83 suspected Islamic militants stand trial in Egypt’s state security court.

2005 – Islamic militants launch a major attack on police and government buildings in the provincial capital of Nalchik in Russia’s volatile Caucasus region, turning the city into a war zone wracked by gunfire and explosions. At least 49 people including 25 militants are killed.

2006 – Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded win the Nobel Peace Prize for their pioneering use of tiny loans — microcredit — to lift millions out of poverty.

2007 – Myanmar’s junta arrests three of the country’s most prominent political activists, believed to be among the last leaders remaining at large from a student group at the forefront of a 1988 democracy uprising and the protests that started in August.

2008 – Police fire tear gas at thousands of angry pro-Serb Montenegrins who pelt state buildings with rocks and flares to protest their government’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence. At least 34 are injured.

2009 – Russia publicly pushes back against U.S. efforts to threaten tough new sanctions if Iran fails to prove its nuclear program is peaceful, dealing an apparent setback to President Barack Obama’s hopes for Moscow’s backing for fresh penalties against Tehran.

2010 – With remarkable speed — and flawless execution — miner after miner climbs into a cramped cage deep beneath the Chilean earth, and is hoisted through 2,000 feet (610 meters) of rock and sees precious sunlight after the longest underground entrapment in history.

2011 – Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge fund billionaire at the center of the biggest insider-trading case in U.S. history, is sentenced to 11 years behind bars — the stiffest punishment ever handed out for the crime.

2012 – Iran says it is ready to show flexibility at nuclear talks to ease Western concerns over its contentious nuclear program as tensions rise in the standoff between the Islamic Republic, Israel and the West.

Today’s Birthdays:

Yves Montand, Italian-born French singer-actor (1921-1991); Margaret Thatcher, British prime minister (1925–2013); Paul Simon, U.S. singer (1941–); Marie Osmond, U.S. actress/singer (1959–); Sacha Baron Cohen, British actor (1971–).

Thought For Today:

There are some things one can only achieve by a deliberate leap in the opposite direction. One has to go abroad in order to find the home one has lost — Franz Kafka, Jewish-Bohemian author (1883-1924).

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