updated 10/21/2006 12:04:34 AM ET 2006-10-21T04:04:34

Today is Saturday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2006. There are 71 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Oct. 21, 1805, a British fleet commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson defeated a French-Spanish fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar; Nelson, however, was killed.

On this date:
In 1797, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, also known as “Old Ironsides,” was christened in Boston’s harbor.

In 1879, Thomas Edison perfected a workable electric light at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J.

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. troops captured the German city of Aachen.

In 1959, the Guggenheim Museum in New York opened to the public.

In 1960, Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon clashed in their fourth and final presidential debate.

In 1966, more than 140 people, mostly children, were killed when a coal waste landslide engulfed a school and several houses in Aberfan, Wales.

In 1967, tens of thousands of Vietnam War protesters began two days of demonstrations in Washington.

In 1976, Saul Bellow won the Nobel Prize for literature, the first American honored since John Steinbeck in 1962.

In 1986, pro-Iranian kidnappers in Lebanon claimed to have abducted American Edward Tracy (he was released in August 1991).

In 1991, American hostage Jesse Turner was freed by his kidnappers in Lebanon after nearly five years in captivity.

Ten years ago: President Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military survived its first Supreme Court test. Arnoldo Aleman claimed victory over Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua’s presidential election. The Atlanta Braves took a 2-0 lead in the World Series, defeating the New York Yankees 4-0.

Five years ago: Washington postal worker Thomas L. Morris Jr. died of inhalation anthrax as officials began testing thousands of postal employees. The Arizona Diamondbacks won the National League championship, defeating the Atlanta Braves 3-2 in Game 5.

One year ago: Hurricane Wilma tore into Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, after killing 13 people in Haiti and Jamaica. The Kansas Supreme Court unanimously struck down a state law that punished underage sex more severely if it involved homosexual acts.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Joyce Randolph is 81. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Whitey Ford is 78. Rock singer Manfred Mann is 66. Musician Steve Cropper (Booker T. & the MG’s) is 65. Singer Elvin Bishop is 64. TV’s Judge Judy Sheindlin is 64. Actor Everett McGill is 61. Musician Lee Loughnane (Chicago) is 60. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is 57. Musician Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Go’s) is 53. Actress-author Carrie Fisher is 50. Singer Julian Cope is 49. Rock musician Steve Lukather (Toto) is 49. Rock musician Che Colovita Lemon is 36. Rock singer-musician Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator) is 35. Christian rock musician Charlie Lowell (Jars of Clay) is 33. Actor Jeremy Miller is 30. Actor Will Estes is 28.

Thought for Today: “There are different kinds of wrong. The people sinned against are not always the best.” — Dame Ivy Compton-Burnett, English author (1892-1969).

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