Today is Thursday, Oct. 7, the 280th day of 2021. There are 85 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 7, 2001, the war in Afghanistan started as the United States and Britain launched air attacks against military targets and Osama bin Laden’s training camps in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

On this date:

In 1765, the Stamp Act Congress convened in New York to draw up colonial grievances against England.

In 1849, author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore at age 40.

In 1910, a major wildfire devastated the northern Minnesota towns of Spooner and Baudette, charring at least 300,000 acres; some 40 people are believed to have died.

In 1949, the Republic of East Germany was formed.

In 1954, Marian Anderson became the first Black singer hired by the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York.

In 1985, Palestinian gunmen hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro (ah-KEE’-leh LOW’-roh) in the Mediterranean. (The hijackers shot and killed Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish-American tourist in a wheelchair, and pushed him overboard, before surrendering on Oct. 9.)

In 1991, University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of making sexually inappropriate comments when she worked for him; Thomas denied Hill’s allegations.

In 1992, trade representatives of the United States, Canada and Mexico initialed the North American Free Trade Agreement during a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas, in the presence of President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (muhl-ROO’-nee) and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

In 1996, Fox News Channel made its debut.

In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was beaten and left tied to a wooden fencepost outside of Laramie, Wyoming; he died five days later. (Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney are serving life sentences for Shepard’s murder.)

In 2003, California voters recalled Gov. Gray Davis and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger their new governor.

In 2004, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney conceded that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction as they tried to shift the Iraq war debate to a new issue, arguing that Saddam was abusing a U.N. oil-for-food program.

Ten years ago: The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman, who began pushing for change in Yemen long before the Arab Spring.

Five years ago: The U.S. accused Russia of hacking American political sites and email accounts in an effort to interfere with the upcoming presidential election and also directly accused Russia of war crimes in Syria; Moscow dismissed the allegations. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, receiving a big boost in his efforts to save an agreement seeking to end his country’s half-century conflict.

One year ago: President Donald Trump returned to the Oval Office for the first time since he was diagnosed with COVID-19; he credited an experimental drug treatment with helping his recovery. Debating from behind plexiglass shields, Vice President Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris zeroed in on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Harris labeling it “the greatest failure of any presidential administration” while Pence defended the overall response. President Donald Trump tweeted that remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan should be home by Christmas. (Military officials said they had been given no orders to accelerate a more gradual pullout.) The former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd posted bail and was released from state prison, leading Minnesota’s governor to activate the National Guard to help keep the peace in the event of protests.

Today’s Birthdays: Retired South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu is 90. Author Thomas Keneally is 86. Comedian Joy Behar is 79. Former National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver North (ret.) is 78. Rock musician Kevin Godley (10cc) is 76. Actor Jill Larson is 74. Country singer Kieran Kane is 72. Singer John Mellencamp is 70. Rock musician Ricky Phillips is 70. Russian President Vladimir Putin is 69. Actor Mary Badham (Film: “To Kill a Mockingbird”) is 69. Rock musician Tico Torres (Bon Jovi) is 68. Actor Christopher Norris is 66. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is 66. Gospel singer Michael W. Smith is 64. Olympic gold medal ice dancer Jayne Torvill is 64. Actor Dylan Baker is 63. Actor Judy Landers is 63. Recording executive and TV personality Simon Cowell is 62. Rock musician Charlie Marinkovich (formerly with Iron Butterfly) is 62. Actor Paula Newsome is 60. Country singer Dale Watson is 59. Pop singer Ann Curless (Expose) is 58. R&B singer Toni Braxton is 54. Rock singer-musician Thom Yorke (Radiohead) is 53. Rock musician-dancer Leeroy Thornhill is 52. Actor Nicole Ari Parker is 51. Actor Allison Munn is 47. Rock singer-musician Damian Kulash (KOO’-lahsh) is 46. Singer Taylor Hicks is 45. Actor Omar Miller is 43. Neo-soul singer Nathaniel Rateliff (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) is 43. Actor Shawn Ashmore is 42. Actor Jake McLaughlin is 39. Electronic musician Flying Lotus (AKA Steve Ellison) is 38. MLB player Evan Longoria is 36. Actor Holland Roden is 35. Actor Amber Stevens is 35. MLB outfielder Mookie Betts is 29. Actor Lulu Wilson is 16.

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