On Oct. 18, 1962, James D. Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins were honored with the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for determining the double-helix molecular structure of DNA.
On this date:
In 1685, King Louis XIV signed the Edict of Fontainebleau, revoking the Edict of Nantes that had established legal toleration of France's Protestant population, the Huguenots.
In 1812, during the War of 1812, the British ship HMS Frolic was captured off the Virginia coast by the crew of the USS Wasp, which was in turn captured by the HMS Poictiers.
In 1867, the United States took formal possession of Alaska from Russia.
In 1892, the first long-distance telephone line between New York and Chicago was officially opened (it could only handle one call at a time).
In 1912, black boxer Jack Johnson was arrested in Chicago, accused of violating the Mann Act because of his relationship with his white girlfriend, Lucille Cameron. (The case collapsed when Cameron refused to cooperate, but Johnson was later re-arrested and convicted on the testimony of a former mistress, Belle Schreiber.)
In 1922, the British Broadcasting Co., Ltd. (later the British Broadcasting Corp.) was founded.
In 1931, inventor Thomas Alva Edison died in West Orange, N.J., at age 84.
In 1944, Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia during World War II.
In 1961, the movie musical "West Side Story," starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer, premiered in New York, the film's setting.
In 1969, the federal government banned artificial sweeteners known as cyclamates because of evidence they caused cancer in laboratory rats.
In 1971, the Knapp Commission began public hearings into allegations of corruption in the New York City police department (the witnesses included Frank Serpico).
In 1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, overriding President Richard M. Nixon's veto.
In 1977, West German commandos stormed a hijacked Lufthansa jetliner on the ground in Mogadishu, Somalia, freeing all 86 hostages and killing three of the four hijackers.
In 1982, former first lady Bess Truman died at her home in Independence, Mo., at age 97.
In 2001, CBS News announced that an employee in anchorman Dan Rather's office had tested positive for skin anthrax. Four disciples of Osama bin Laden were sentenced in New York to life without parole for their roles in the deadly 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.
Ten years ago: Pope John Paul II celebrated a Mass at the Vatican marking the 20th anniversary of his election to the papacy. The New York Yankees defeated the San Diego Padres, 9-3, to take a 2-games-to-none lead in the World Series.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush, speaking at Camp David, said he would host an international summit in response to the global financial crisis, but did not set a date or place for the meeting. Anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged Iraq's parliament to reject a pact that would extend U.S. presence in Iraq for three years. Soul singer Dee Dee Warwick died in Essex County, N.J. at age 63.
One year ago: In a case that would go to the Supreme Court, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is unconstitutional and said the gay population has "suffered a history of discrimination." Just 48 hours after a confrontational debate, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney appeared at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York. Obama joked that he did better in the second presidential debate because he got a good long nap in the first one, while Romney quipped that the white-tie gala gave him and his wife Ann the chance to dress as they do around the house. The Detroit Tigers completed a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees, winning the finale of the American League Championship Series 8-1. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 8-3 to take a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series.
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