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Oct 1, 2010 11:01 AM

Today in History-October 1, 2010

Today is Friday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2010. There are 91 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

In the early hours of Oct. 1, 1910, the offices of the Los Angeles Times were destroyed when a bomb exploded, igniting a natural gas fire; 21 Times employees were killed. (The paper had been targeted because of its fiercely anti-union publisher, Harrison Gray Otis; iron worker James B. McNamara later pleaded guilty to planting the bomb and was sentenced to life in prison.)

On this date:

In 1810, America's first agricultural fair, the Berkshire Cattle Show, took place in Pittsfield, Mass.

In 1936, Gen. Francisco Franco was proclaimed the head of an insurgent Spanish state.

In 1908, Henry Ford introduced his Model T automobile to the market.

In 1939, Winston Churchill, recently appointed First Lord of the Admiralty by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, described Russia as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" during a radio address on the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

In 1940, the first section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, 160 miles in length, was opened to the public.

In 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China during a ceremony in Beijing. A 42-day strike by the United Steelworkers of America began over the issue of retirement benefits.

In 1960, Nigeria became independent of British rule.

In 1963, Nigeria became a federal republic with the adoption of its constitution.

In 1979, Nigeria's Second Republic was born as military rulers handed over power to a civilian government.

In 1987, eight people were killed when an earthquake measuring magnitude 5.9 struck the Los Angeles area.

Ten years ago: Pope John Paul II declared sainthood for 120 Chinese and foreign missionaries killed in the church's five-century struggle in China. John Paul named three other new saints as well, including former American socialite Katharine Drexel. Israeli troops battled Palestinians as riots continued to rage through the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On the last day of the Sydney Olympics, the U.S. men's basketball team beat France 85-75 for the gold. The United States led the way in the final medal tally, collecting 97 (39 gold, 25 silver and 33 bronze); Russia was second with 88 (32, 28 and 28), China third with 59 (28, 16, 15) and host Australia was fourth, with 58.

Five years ago: Three suicide bombers struck three restaurants in Bali, Indonesia, killing 20 victims. U.S. millionaire scientist Gregory Olsen and an American-Russian crew blasted off from Kazakhstan on a journey to the international space station.

One year ago: The U.S. and five other world powers held high-stakes talks with Iran in Geneva to demand a freeze of its nuclear activities; President Barack Obama called the discussions a constructive beginning. "Late Show" host David Letterman acknowledged having sexual relationships with some female staffers as "48 Hours Mystery" producer Joe Halderman was charged in a blackmail plot. (Halderman later pleaded guilty to attempted grand larcey and served four months in jail.)

Today's Birthdays: Former President Jimmy Carter is 86. Pianist Roger Williams is 86. Actor Tom Bosley is 83. Actress-singer Julie Andrews is 75. Actress Stella Stevens is 72. Rock musician Jerry Martini (Sly and the Family Stone) is 67. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Rod Carew is 65. Jazz musician Dave Holland is 64. Actor Stephen Collins is 63. Actor Randy Quaid is 60. Marathon runner Grete Waitz is 57. Rhythm-and-blues singer Howard Hewett is 55. Actress Yvette Freeman is 53. Alt-country-rock musician Tim O'Reagan (The Jayhawks) is 52. Singer Youssou N'Dour is 51. Actor Esai Morales is 48. Retired MLB All-Star Mark McGwire is 47. Actor Christopher Titus is 46. Actress-model Cindy Margolis is 45. Rock singer-musician Kevin Griffin (Better Than Ezra) is 42. Actor Zach Galifianakis (ga-lih-fih-NA'-kihs) is 41. Singer Keith Duffy is 36. Actress Sarah Drew (TV: "Grey's Anatomy") is 30. Actress Jurnee Smollett is 24. Actress Brie Larson is 21.

Thought for Today: "It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere." - Agnes Repplier (REHP'-leer), American essayist (1858-1950).

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