Today is Monday, Oct. 15, the 289th day of 2012. There are 77 days left in the year.
On Oct. 15, 1917, Dutch dancer Mata Hari, convicted of spying for the Germans, was executed by a French firing squad outside Paris.
On this date:
In 1858, the seventh and final debate between senatorial candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took place in Alton, Ill.
In 1860, 11-year-old Grace Bedell of Westfield, N.Y., wrote a letter to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, suggesting he could improve his appearance by growing a beard.
In 1928, the German dirigible Graf Zeppelin landed in Lakehurst, N.J., completing its first commercial flight across the Atlantic.
In 1937, the Ernest Hemingway novel “To Have and Have Not” was first published by Charles Scribner’s Sons.
In 1945, the former premier of Vichy France, Pierre Laval, was executed for treason.
In 1946, Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering fatally poisoned himself hours before he was to have been executed.
In 1951, the classic sitcom “I Love Lucy” premiered on CBS with the episode “The Girls Want to Go to the Nightclub.”
In 1964, it was announced that Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev had been removed from office.
In 1969, peace demonstrators staged activities across the country as part of a “moratorium” against the Vietnam War.
In 1976, in the first debate of its kind between vice presidential nominees, Democrat Walter F. Mondale and Republican Bob Dole faced off in Houston.
In 1991, despite sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill, the Senate narrowly confirmed the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, 52-48.
In 1997, British Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green twice drove a jet-powered car in the Nevada desert faster than the speed of sound, officially shattering the world’s land-speed record. NASA’s plutonium-powered Cassini spacecraft rocketed flawlessly toward Saturn.
Ten years ago: ImClone Systems founder Sam Waksal pleaded guilty in New York to charges stemming from the biotech company’s insider trading scandal. (He was later sentenced to more than seven years in prison.) Iraqis turned out for a national referendum on whether Saddam Hussein should remain their president for another seven years; Saddam won with a reported 100 percent of the votes cast. Five Japanese kidnapping victims who’d been abducted in their youth by North Korean spies finally returned home, tearfully hugging their aging parents for the first time in nearly a-quarter century.
Five years ago: Americans Leonid Hurwicz, Eric S. Maskin and Roger B. Myerson won the Nobel economics prize. The Colorado Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-4 in Game 4 to sweep the NL championship series and advance to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
One year ago: Italian riot police fired tear gas and water cannons in Rome as violent protesters hijacked a peaceful demonstration against corporate greed, smashing bank windows, torching cars and hurling bottles. Iran’s Foreign Ministry dismissed U.S. accusations that Tehran was involved in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, saying the claims had no “legal logic.” The Texas Rangers finished off the Detroit Tigers to become the American League’s first repeat champion in a decade with a 15-5 win in Game 6 of the ALCS. Former Hollywood superagent Sue Mengers, 81, died in Beverly Hills, Calif.