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Oil pumps dot the landscape at the Department of Energy’s Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center amid the Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 3 near Midwest, Wyo. in this October 2003 file photo. The field was the center of the 1920s Teapot Dome scandal. (AP Photo/Casper Star-Tribune, Dan Cepeda, File)

Today in History, Monday Oct. 7

Today is Monday, Oct. 7, the 280th day of 2012. There are 85 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Oct. 7, 1929, former Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall, one of the main figures of the Teapot Dome scandal, went on trial in Washington, D.C., charged with accepting a bribe from oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny. (Fall was found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison and fined $100,000; he ended up serving nine months. Ironically, Doheny was acquitted at trial of offering the bribe that Fall was convicted of taking.)

On this date:

In 1612, Italian poet Giovanni Battista Guarini died in Venice.

In 1777, the second Battle of Saratoga began during the American Revolution. (British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered ten days later.)

In 1849, author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore at age 40.

In 1858, the fifth debate between Illinois senatorial candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took place in Galesburg.

In 1910, a major wildfire devastated the northern Minnesota towns of Spooner and Baudette, charring at least 300,000 acres. Some 40 people are believed to have died.

In 1949, the Republic of East Germany was formed.

In 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and Republican opponent Richard M. Nixon held their second televised debate, in Washington, D.C.

In 1982, the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical "Cats" opened on Broadway. (The show closed Sept. 10, 2000, after a record 7,485 performances.)

In 1985, Palestinian gunmen hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro (ah-KEE'-leh LOW'-roh) in the Mediterranean. (The hijackers, who killed Jewish American tourist Leon Klinghoffer, surrendered two days after taking over the ship.)

In 1991, University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of making sexually inappropriate comments when she worked for him; Thomas denied Hill's allegations.

In 1992, trade representatives of the United States, Canada and Mexico initialed the North American Free Trade Agreement during a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas.

In 2001, the current war in Afghanistan started as the United States and Britain launched air attacks against military targets and Osama bin Laden's training camps in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ten years ago: California voters recalled Gov. Gray Davis and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger their new governor. Turkey's parliament voted overwhelmingly to allow Turkish troops to be sent to Iraq. Ten Southeast Asian nations signed an accord establishing a Europe-like economic community by 2020. American scientists Alexei Abrikosov and Anthony Leggett and Russian Vitaly Ginzburg won the Nobel Prize in physics for their work in how matter can behave at extremely low temperatures.

Five years ago: The misery worsened on Wall Street, as the Dow lost more than 500 points and all the major indexes slid more than 5 percent. In their second presidential debate, held at Belmont University in Nashville, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain clashed repeatedly over the causes and cures for the economic crisis. Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa of Japan and Yoichiro Nambu of the United States won the Nobel Prize in physics.

One year ago: Venezuela's National Electoral Council announced that President Hugo Chavez had won re-election for the third time. (Chavez died in March 2013 at age 58 after at two-year battle with cancer.)

Today's Birthdays: Retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu is 82. Comedian Joy Behar (TV: ex-"The View") is 71. Former National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver North (ret.) is 70. Rock musician Kevin Godley (10cc) is 68. Actress Jill Larson is 66. Country singer Kieran Kane is 64. Singer John Mellencamp is 62. Rock musician Ricky Phillips is 62. Actress Mary Badham (Film: "To Kill a Mockingbird") is 61. Actress Christopher Norris is 60. Rock musician Tico Torres (Bon Jovi) is 60. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is 58. Gospel singer Michael W. Smith is 56. Actor Dylan Baker is 55. Recording executive and TV personality Simon Cowell (TV: "The X Factor") is 54. Rock musician Charlie Marinkovich (Iron Butterfly) is 54. Country singer Dale Watson is 51. Pop singer Ann Curless (Expose) is 50. Rhythm-and-blues singer Toni Braxton is 46. Rock singer-musician Thom Yorke (Radiohead) is 45. Rock musician-dancer Leeroy Thornhill is 44. Actress Nicole Ari Parker is 43. Actress Allison Munn is 39. Rock singer-musician Damian Kulash (KOO'-lahsh) is 38. Singer Taylor Hicks ("American Idol") is 37. Actor Omar Benson Miller is 35. Electronic musician Flying Lotus (AKA Stephen Ellison) is 30. MLB player Evan Longoria is 28. Actress Amber Stevens is 27.

Thought for Today: "If a man happens to find himself, he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life." — James Michener, American author (1907-1997).

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