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Today in history: October 24

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Monday, Oct. 24, the 297th day of 2005. There are 68 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Oct. 24, 1945, the United Nations officially came into existence as its charter took effect.

On this date:
In 1537, Jane Seymour, the third wife of England’s King Henry VIII, died 12 days after giving birth to Prince Edward, later King Edward VI.

In 1861, the first transcontinental telegraph message was sent as Justice Stephen J. Field of California transmitted a telegram to President Lincoln.

In 1901, Anna Edson Taylor, a 43-year-old widow, became the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

In 1931, the George Washington Bridge, connecting New York and New Jersey, opened to traffic.

In 1939, nylon stockings were sold publicly for the first time, in Wilmington, Del.

In 1940, the 40-hour work week went into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

In 1952, Republican presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower declared, “I shall go to Korea” as he promised to end the conflict. (He made the visit over a month later.)

In 1962, the U.S. blockade of Cuba during the missile crisis officially began under a proclamation signed by President Kennedy.

In 1980, the merchant freighter SS Poet departed Philadelphia bound for Port Said, Egypt, with a crew of 34 and a cargo of grain; it disappeared en route.

In 2002, authorities arrested Army veteran John Allen Muhammad and teenager Lee Boyd Malvo in connection with the Washington-area sniper attacks.

Ten years ago: President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin met in New York, trying to stabilize relations shaken by disputes over human rights, trade and Taiwan. The Cleveland Indians got their first victory in the World Series, defeating the Atlanta Braves 7-6 in Game 3.

Five years ago: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ended two days of historic talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, with the Communist leader indicating a willingness to restrain his country’s long-range missile program.

One year ago: A plane owned by top NASCAR team Hendrick Motorsports crashed near Martinsville, Va., killing all 10 people aboard. A Russian-U.S. crew aboard a Soyuz capsule returned to Earth from the international space station in a pinpoint landing in Kazakhstan. Cardinal James A. Hickey, former archbishop of Washington, D.C., died at age 84. The Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 for a 2-0 World Series lead. Arizona’s Emmitt Smith broke Walter Payton’s NFL record for 100-yard games rushing with his 78th.

Today’s Birthdays: Football Hall-of-Famer Y.A. Tittle is 79. Rock musician Bill Wyman is 69. Actor-producer David Nelson is 69. Actor F. Murray Abraham is 66. Actor Kevin Kline is 58. Former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume is 57. Country musician Billy Thomas (Terry McBride and the Ride) is 52. Actor B.D. Wong is 43. Rock musician Ben Gillies (Silverchair) is 26. Singer-actress Monica Arnold is 25. Rhythm-and-blues singer Adrienne Bailon (3lw) is 22.

Thought for Today: “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity/ That’s any fun at all for humanity.” — Ogden Nash, American author and humorist (1902-1971).