Today In History 10/20

Today is Saturday, Oct. 20, the 294th day of 2012. There are 72 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 20, 2011, 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.

On this date:

• In 1740, Maria Theresa became ruler of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia upon the death of her father, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI.

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

• In 1903, a joint commission ruled largely in favor of the United States in a boundary dispute between the District of Alaska and Canada.

• In 1944, during World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2Ω years after saying, “I shall return.”

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

• In 1964, the 31st president of the United States, Herbert Hoover, died in New York at age 90.

• In 1967, seven men were convicted in Meridian, Miss., of violating the civil rights of three slain civil rights workers.

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

• In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the General Revenue Sharing Act, which allocated $30 billion over five years to state and local governments.

• 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 1981, a bungled armored truck robbery carried out by members of radical groups in Nanuet, N.Y., left a guard and two police officers dead.

• 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.

Ten years ago:

• With a U.S. invasion looming, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein issued an amnesty decree releasing everyone from pickpockets to political prisoners from prison.

• The Anaheim Angels evened the World Series in Game 2 by beating the San Francisco Giants 11-10.

Five years ago:

• Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal, the U.S.-born son of Indian immigrants, was elected governor of Louisiana; he became the first non-white to hold the job since Reconstruction.

• Former Green Bay Packers receiver Max McGee died in Deephaven, Minn., at age 75.

• Peg Bracken, author of the “I Hate to Cook Book,” died in Portland, Ore., at age 89.

One year ago:

• Greek lawmakers passed a deeply resented new austerity bill, caving in to the demands of international creditors in order to avoid a national bankruptcy as a second day of riots left one protester dead and more than 100 people wounded.

• The Texas Rangers evened up the World Series at one game apiece, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actor William Christopher is 80. Singer Tom Petty is 62. Actor William “Rusty” Russ is 62. Actress Melanie Mayron is 60. Retired MLB All-Star Keith Hernandez is 59. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., is 57. Movie director Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is 56. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is 55. Actor Viggo Mortensen is 54. Rock musician Jim Sonefeld (Hootie & The Blowfish) is 48. Rock musician David Ryan is 48. Rock musician Doug Eldridge (Oleander) is 45. Political commentator and blogger Michelle Malkin is 42. Rapper Snoop Dogg is 41. Singer Dannii Minogue is 41. Country musician Jeff Loberg is 36. Actor Sam Witwer is 35. Actor John Krasinski is 33. Rock musician Daniel Tichenor (Cage the Elephant) is 33. Actress Katie Featherston is 30. Actress Jennifer Nicole Freeman is 27.