On Oct. 10, 1962, President John F. Kennedy, responding to the thalidomide birth defects crisis, signed an amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requiring pharmaceutical companies to prove that their products were safe and effective before marketing.
On this date:
In 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy was established in Annapolis, Md.
In 1911, Chinese revolutionaries launched an uprising that led to the collapse of the Qing (or Manchu) Dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China. California voters approved Proposition 4, giving women the right to vote, and Proposition 7, which established the initiative process for proposing and enacting new laws.
In 1913, the Panama Canal was effectively completed as President Woodrow Wilson sent a signal from the White House by telegraph, setting off explosives that destroyed a section of the Gamboa dike.
In 1935, the George Gershwin opera "Porgy and Bess," featuring an all-black cast, opened on Broadway; it ran for 124 performances.
In 1938, Nazi Germany completed its annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland.
In 1943, Chiang Kai-shek took the oath of office as president of China.
In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower apologized to the finance minister of Ghana, Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, after the official was refused seating in a Howard Johnson's restaurant near Dover, Del.
In 1967, the Outer Space Treaty, prohibiting the placing of weapons of mass destruction on the moon or elsewhere in space, entered into force.
In 1970, Quebec Labor Minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped by the Quebec Liberation Front, a militant separatist group. (Laporte's body was found a week later.) Fiji became independent after nearly a century of British rule.
In 1973, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, accused of accepting bribes, pleaded no contest to one count of federal income tax evasion, and resigned his office.
In 1982, Father Maximilian Kolbe, who died in the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp, was canonized by Pope John Paul II.
In 1985, U.S. fighter jets forced an Egyptian plane carrying the hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro to land in Italy, where the gunmen were taken into custody.
Ten years ago: Iranian writer and activist Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize. Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh announced during his syndicated radio show that he was addicted to painkillers and was checking into a rehab center.
Five years ago: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced the government had decided to go forward with a plan to buy a part ownership in a broad array of American banks in response to the financial meltdown. Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled that gay couples had the right to marry, making the state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions. An Alaska legislative committee released a report saying Gov. Sarah Palin had violated state ethics laws and abused her power by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper. Finland's ex-president Martti Ahtisaari received the Nobel Peace Prize.
One year ago: President Barack Obama conceded he did poorly the previous week in his first debate with Republican rival Mitt Romney, telling ABC he "had a bad night." Romney barnstormed battleground state Ohio and released a new commercial pledging not to raise taxes. The remains of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway were found in a park five days after the suburban Denver fifth-grader disappeared while walking to school. (A 17-year-old boy who lived a mile away was later charged with killing and dismembering her.) Football star-turned-actor Alex Karras died at age 77.
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