updated 10/20/2006 12:08:19 AM ET 2006-10-20T04:08:19

Today is Friday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2006. There are 72 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 20, 1944, during World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he’d said, “I shall return.”

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 in favor of the United States in a boundary dispute between the District of Alaska and Canada.

In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee opened hearings into alleged Communist influence and infiltration within the American 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 murdered civil rights workers.

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

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 1976, 76 people died when the Norwegian tanker Frosta collided with the ferryboat George Prince on the Mississippi River north of New Orleans.

In 1981, a bungled armored truck robbery in Nyack, N.Y., left a guard and two police officers dead. (Four suspects, members of radical groups, were later convicted and sentenced to 75 years to life in prison; a fifth suspect, Kathy Boudin, was paroled in 2003.)

Ten years ago: Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s party won a parliamentary election. The Atlanta Braves defeated the New York Yankees 12-1 in Game 1 of the World Series.

Five years ago: During a visit to Shanghai, China, President Bush challenged Asian leaders to help “save the civilized world” by joining his war against terrorism. Officials announced that anthrax had been discovered in a House postal facility on Capitol Hill.

One year ago: U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay turned himself in at the sheriff’s office in Travis County, Texas, where he was fingerprinted, photographed and released on $10,000 bail on conspiracy and money-laundering charges. A defense lawyer in Saddam Hussein’s mass murder trial was abducted from his office and found murdered hours later. Jazz pianist and vocalist Shirley Horn died in Washington at age 71.

Today’s Birthdays: Columnist Art Buchwald is 81. Actor William Christopher is 74. Country singer Wanda Jackson is 69. Singer Tom Petty is 56. Actress Melanie Mayron is 54. Baseball All-Star Keith Hernandez is 53. Actor Viggo Mortensen is 48. Rock musician Jim Sonefeld (Hootie & The Blowfish) is 42. Rock musician David Ryan (The Lemonheads) is 42. Rock musician Doug Eldridge (Oleander) is

39. Rapper Snoop Dogg is 35. Singer Dannii Minogue is 35. Country musician Jeff Loberg is 30. Actor John Krasinski is 27. Actress Jennifer Nicole Freeman (“My Wife and Kids”) is 21.

Thought for Today: “Cynicism is intellectual dandyism.” — George Meredith, English poet (1828-1909).

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