updated 10/12/2006 12:02:32 AM ET 2006-10-12T04:02:32

Today is Thursday, Oct. 12, the 285th day of 2006. There are 80 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Oct. 12, 1492 (Old Style calendar; Oct. 21 New Style), Christopher Columbus arrived with his expedition in the present-day Bahamas.

On this date:
In 1870, Gen. Robert E. Lee died in Lexington, Va., at age 63.

In 1915, English nurse Edith Cavell was executed by the Germans in occupied Belgium during World War I.

In 1933, bank robber John Dillinger escaped from a jail in Allen County, Ohio, with the help of his gang, who killed the sheriff, Jesse Sarber.

In 1942, President Roosevelt delivered one of his so-called “fireside chats” in which he recommended the drafting of 18- and 19-year-old men.

In 1960, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev disrupted a U.N. General Assembly session by pounding his desk with a shoe during a dispute.

In 1968, the summer Games of the 19th Olympiad officially opened in Mexico City.

In 1976, it was announced in China that Hua Guofeng had been named to succeed the late Mao Zedong as chairman of the Communist Party.

In 1986, the superpower meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, ended in stalemate, with President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev unable to agree on arms control or a date for a full-fledged summit in the United States.

In 2000, 17 sailors were killed in a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. destroyer Cole in Yemen.

In 2002, a bomb blamed on Islamic militants destroyed a nightclub on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

Ten years ago: President Clinton signed into law the Water Resources Development Act, which authorized federal water projects across the country. Thousands of Hispanic-Americans marched in Washington to push for simplified citizenship procedures and a $7 minimum wage.

Five years ago: NBC announced that an assistant to anchorman Tom Brokaw had contracted the skin form of anthrax after opening a “threatening” letter to her boss that contained a suspicious powder. The United Nations and its secretary-general, Kofi Annan, won the Nobel Peace Prize. Polaroid Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection.

One year ago: China launched its second manned space flight, during which two astronauts orbited Earth for five days. Syria’s interior minister, Brigadier General Ghazi Kenaan, committed suicide in his Damascus office. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced he would not participate in Germany’s new coalition government, ending seven years in power.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Antonia Rey is 79. Blues singer Nappy Brown is 77. Comedian-activist Dick Gregory is 74. Former Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, is 74. Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti is 71. Singer Sam Moore (formerly of Sam and Dave) is 71. Sportscaster Tony Kubek is 70. TV reporter Chris Wallace is 59. Actress-singer Susan Anton is 56. Rock singer-musician Pat DiNizio is 51. Actor Carlos Bernard is 44. Rhythm-and-blues singer Claude McKnight (Take 6) is 44. Rock singer Bob Schneider is 41. Actor Hugh Jackman is 38. Actor Adam Rich is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer Garfield Bright (Shai) is 37. Country musician Martie Maguire (The Dixie Chicks) is 37. Actor Kirk Cameron is 36. Actor Marcus T. Paulk (“Moesha”) is 20.

Thought for Today: “Everyone’s quick to blame the alien.” — Aeschylus, Greek poet and dramatist (524 B.C.?-456 B.C.?).

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