Today is Thursday, October 24, the 297th day of 2013. There are 68 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1537 - Jane Seymour, the third wife of England's King Henry VIII, dies 12 days after giving birth to Prince Edward, later King Edward VI.
1648 - The Peace of Westphalia ends the Thirty Years War and effectively destroys the Holy Roman Empire.
1795 - Austria, Prussia and Russia partition Poland for the third time.
1834 - At least 14 Aborigines are shot dead by police at "Battle of Pinjarra" following attacks on settlers in Australia.
1860 - Convention of Beijing makes Kowloon peninsula part of the British colony of Hong Kong.
1861 - The first transcontinental telegraph message is sent as Justice Stephen J. Field of California transmits a telegram to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.
1882 - Dr. Robert Koch discovers germ that causes tuberculosis.
1901 - Anna Edson Taylor, a 43-year-old widow, becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and live to tell about it.
1922 - Irish Parliament adopts a constitution for an Irish Free State.
1929 - "Black Thursday" — the New York Stock Exchange loses 12.8 percent of its value in one day.
1935 - Italy invades Ethiopia.
1939 - Nylon stockings are sold to the public for the first time, in Wilmington, Delaware; Nazis require Jews to wear Star of David in Germany.
1940 - The 40-hour work week goes into effect in the United States under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
1945 - The United Nations officially comes into existence as its charter takes effect.
1952 - In a speech in Detroit, Republican presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower declares, "I shall go to Korea," promising to end the conflict.
1959 - More than 10,000 Muslims flee from Burma to East Pakistan to escape pressure from Burmese officials and Buddhist tribes.
1962 - The U.S. blockade of Cuba begins under a proclamation signed by President John F. Kennedy.
1964 - Zambia gains independence from Britain.
1970 - Leftist Salvador Allende is elected president of Chile.
1973 - Yom Kippur War ends with Israeli troops 100 kilometers (65 miles) from Cairo, Egypt, and 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Damascus, Syria.
1978 - The United States, which imposed an aid embargo in 1977 in response to Pakistan's insistence on purchasing a nuclear facility from France, resumes economic assistance.
1980 - Polish government legalizes independent labor union Solidarity.
1987 - An explosion rips through a PanAm sales office in Kuwait, two days after pro-Iranian Shiite Muslims in Lebanon vowed to strike at U.S. and European interests worldwide with thousands of suicide bombers.
1990 - Using a new tactic, the Irish Republican Army forces three men to be "proxies," holding their families hostage, while they drive car bombs to British security targets in Northern Ireland. Six British soldiers are killed.
1991 - After more than a year of delays, the Brazilian government begins its privatization program, selling 75 percent of a state-owned steel company, for about US$1.17 billion.
1992 - The Toronto Blue Jays win baseball's World Series, becoming the first non-U.S. team to capture the championship by defeating the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in Game 6.
1993 - Islamic militants shoot and stab two Israeli soldiers to death in the occupied Gaza Strip.
1994 - An elderly art lover in Zurich is robbed — for the second time in three years — of paintings by Pablo Picasso with an estimated value of US$40 million.
1995 - A strong earthquake jolts the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan, killing at least 14 people.
1996 - Taliban jets bomb Afghan villages north of Kabul, responding to a major offensive by former government troops. At least 20 people are killed.
1997 - U.N. officials say the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan have agreed to enforce a ban on opium production.
1998 - For the first time, the world-champion South African rugby team accepts a black player.
1999 - A Venezuelan constitutional assembly approves a measure calling for "truthful information" in the media, alarming critics who say it could result in an attack on the free press.
2000 - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak appeals to hawkish opposition leader Ariel Sharon to join a coalition government, further dashing hopes of reconciliation with the Palestinians.
2001 - Two trucks crash head-on in a main tunnel through the Alps, igniting a fire and killing at least 10 people.
2002 - Police investigating a spate of sniper attacks in the Washington, D.C., area arrest two suspects.
2003 - The last three Concorde supersonic passenger jet flights land at Heathrow airport outside London, ending the luxury plane's 27 years of commercial service. The British Airways planes departed from New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
2004 - Iraqi insurgents waylay three minibuses carrying U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers heading home on leave and massacre about 50 of them — many of them shot in the head execution-style.
2005 - Eritrea imposes new restrictions on U.N. peacekeepers who have complained that their ability to patrol the disputed Eritrea-Ethiopia border is already seriously hampered.
2006 - Australia's government announces that more than 70,000 farmers are eligible for special federal relief after the worst drought in a century has affected more than half of Australia's farm and ranch land.
2007 - Embarking on an ambitious 10-year moon exploration program, China launches its first lunar probe — a leap forward in the Asian space race that gives a boost to national pride, and the promise of scientific and military payoffs.
2008 - A Russian Soyuz capsule touches down in Kazakhstan after delivering the first two men to follow their fathers into space, a Russian and an American, to the international space station.
2009 - The army captures the strategically located hometown of Pakistan's Taliban chief after fierce fighting, snagging its first big prize in a major U.S.-backed offensive along the Afghan border.
2010 - A top British official says allegations of prisoner abuse and civilian killings in Iraq from a cache of leaked U.S. secret military documents are extremely serious and must be investigated.
2011 - The Obama administration pulls its ambassador home from Syria, arguing that his support for anti-Assad activists put him in grave danger — the most dramatic action so far by the United States as it struggles to counter a Mideast autocrat who is withstanding pressure that has toppled neighboring dictators.
2012 - The U.N. Security Council gives unanimous backing to a four-day truce proposed by the international mediator for Syria to mark a major Muslim holiday after he warned that the failure of yet another cease-fire plan would only worsen the fighting.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Dutch scientist (1632-1723); Bill Wyman, member of the Rolling Stones (1936--); Kevin Kline, U.S. actor (1947--).
Thought for Today:
Happiness is not a horse; you cannot harness it — Russian proverb.