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October 23, 2014 07:08 GMT

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Oct. 23, the 296th day of 2014. There are 69 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Oct. 23, 1944, the World War II Battle of Leyte (LAY'-tee) Gulf began, resulting in a major Allied victory against Japanese forces.

On this date:

In 1707, the first Parliament of Great Britain, created by the Acts of Union between England and Scotland, held its first meeting.

In 1864, forces led by Union Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis repelled Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price's army in the Civil War Battle of Westport in Missouri.

In 1915, tens of thousands of women marched in New York City, demanding the right to vote.

In 1935, mobster Dutch Schultz, 34, was shot and mortally wounded with three other men during a gangland hit at the Palace Chophouse in Newark, New Jersey. (Schultz died the following day.)

In 1942, during World War II, Britain launched a major offensive against Axis forces at El Alamein (el ah-lah-MAYN') in Egypt, resulting in an Allied victory.

In 1954, West Germany was invited to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which it did the following year.

In 1956, a student-sparked revolt against Hungary's Communist rule began; as the revolution spread, Soviet forces started entering the country, and the uprising was put down within weeks.

In 1972, the musical "Pippin" opened on Broadway.

In 1983, 241 U.S. service members, most of them Marines, were killed in a suicide truck-bombing at Beirut International Airport in Lebanon; a near-simultaneous attack on French forces killed 58 paratroopers.

In 1984, BBC Television reported on the famine in Ethiopia; the story, which shocked viewers, prompted rock star Bob Geldof to organize "Band Aid," a group of celebrities who recorded the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for charity.

In 1989, 23 people were killed in an explosion at Phillips Petroleum Co.'s chemical complex in Pasadena, Texas. In a case that inflamed racial tensions in Boston, Charles Stuart claimed that he and his pregnant wife, Carol, had been shot in their car by a black robber. (Carol Stuart and her prematurely delivered baby died; Charles Stuart later died, an apparent suicide, after he himself was implicated.)

In 2002, gunmen seized a crowded Moscow theater, taking hundreds hostage and threatening to kill their captives unless the Russian army pulled out of Chechnya. (Three days later, special forces stormed the theater; 130 captives died, along with all 40 gunmen.)

Ten years ago: Gunmen ambushed a group of U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers east of Baghdad; around 50 of the unarmed soldiers were killed execution-style. A 6.8 magnitude earthquake in northern Japan killed 40 people. Brazil launched its first rocket into space, 14 months after an accident killed 21 space agency employees. The Boston Red Sox took Game 1 of the World Series, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 11-9. Singer Ashlee Simpson, performing on NBC's "Saturday Night Live," was tripped up when the backing track for a different song featuring her voice began to play, prompting accusations of lip-synching. Opera singer Robert Merrill, 87, died in New Rochelle, New York.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, giving his health chief the power to let hospitals move emergency rooms offsite to speed treatment and protect noninfected patients. Bank closings for 2009 surpassed 100, hitting 106 by day's end. The NBA and the referees union agreed on a two-year contract, ending a lockout of more than a month. Character actor Lou Jacobi died in New York at age 95. Shiloh Pepin, 10, a girl who was born with fused legs, a rare condition often called "mermaid syndrome," died in Portland, Maine.

One year ago: A defensive Obama administration acknowledged its problem-plagued health insurance website didn't get enough testing before going live; it said technicians were deep into the job of fixing major computer snags, but provided no timetable. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called President Barack Obama to complain about allegations U.S. intelligence had targeted her cellphone. (The White House said it wasn't monitoring and wouldn't monitor Merkel's communications, but conspicuously didn't say they had never been monitored.) The Boston Red Sox took the World Series opener, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 8-1.

Today's Birthdays: Baseball Hall of Famer and former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning, R-Ky., is 83. Movie director Philip Kaufman is 78. Soccer great Pele (pay-lay) is 74. Rhythm-and-blues singer Barbara Ann Hawkins (The Dixie Cups) is 71. ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross is 66. Actor Michael Rupert is 63. Movie director Ang Lee is 60. Jazz singer Dianne Reeves is 58. Country singer Dwight Yoakam is 58. Community activist Martin Luther King III is 57. Movie director Sam Raimi is 55. Parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic is 55. Rock musician Robert Trujillo (Metallica) is 50. Christian/jazz singer David Thomas (Take 6) is 48. Rock musician Brian Nevin (Big Head Todd and the Monsters) is 48. Country singer-musician Junior Bryant is 46. Actor Jon Huertas is 45. Movie director Chris Weitz is 45. CNN medical reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta is 45. Country singer Jimmy Wayne is 42. Actress Vivian Bang is 41. Rock musician Eric Bass (Shinedown) is 40. TV personality and host Cat Deeley is 38. Actor Ryan Reynolds is 38. Rock singer Matthew Shultz (Cage the Elephant) is 31. Rhythm-and-blues singer Miguel is 29. Actress Masiela Lusha (MAH'-see-ella loo-SHA') is 29. Actress Emilia Clarke (TV: "Game of Thrones") is 28. Actress Briana Evigan is 28. Actress Jessica Stroup is 28.

Thought for Today: "Be content with what you are, and wish not change; nor dread your last day, nor long for it." -- Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor (CE 121-CE 180).


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