This Day in History – October 18
Today is the 291st day of 2023. There are 74 days left in the year.
1972: A three-nation UN investigating committee, made up of Yugoslavia, Somalia and Sri Lanka, accuses Israel of continued violations of Arab rights in the territories occupied since the 1967 war.
1009: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is destroyed by Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who hacks the church’s foundations down to the bedrock.
1685: King Louis XIV of France revokes the Edict of Nantes which had established the legal toleration of France’s Protestant population, the Huguenots.
1867: The US takes formal possession of Alaska from Russia, having paid US$7.2 million.
1898: The American flag is raised in Puerto Rico shortly before Spain formally relinquishes control of the island to the United States.
1962: Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins of the United Kingdom and James Watson of the United States win the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their work in determining the structure of DNA.
1964: Pope Paul VI proclaims 22 new African saints; the saints, known as the Blessed Martyrs of Uganda, were a group of converts who were persecuted and martyred between 1885 and 1887.
1968: The US Olympic Committee suspends two black athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, for giving a black-power salute as a protest at a victory ceremony in Mexico City.
1969: The federal government bans artificial sweeteners, known as cyclamates, because of evidence they cause cancer in laboratory rats.
1989: Gunmen assassinate Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan, the front-runner in polls, at a campaign rally outside Bogota; four candidates are murdered in the months leading up to the 1990 election.
1991: Ukraine, Georgia, Moldavia and Azerbaijan refuse to sign an economic union treaty with the Soviet constituent republics.
1993: A United Nations oil embargo takes effect against Haiti.
1995: The United States announces it will grant Fidel Castro a visa, permitting the Cuban president to address the United Nations.
1998: A pipeline explosion in Nigeria, apparently sparked by thieves siphoning off oil, leads to an inferno that kills at least 250 people and destroys villages.
1999: Former South African President Nelson Mandela begins his first visit to Israel, a gesture of final reconciliation with a nation that had backed South Africa’s apartheid regime.
2002: The Vatican rejects the policy drawn up by American bishops to address the problem of sexual abuse of minors by priests, indicating that the policy fails to safeguard the rights of accused priests. Poet Quincy Troupe, who had become California”s first official poet laureate on June 11, resigns after admitting that he had claimed on his resume to have graduated from college, whereas he only attended.
2004: The Lambeth Commission, convened by Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, issues a report calling on the Episcopal Church USA to refrain from ordaining gay clergy and blessing gay unions, and to express regret for the difficulties taking these actions has caused within the Anglican Communion.
2005: US Defence Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld accuses China of understating the growth of its military budget, saying failing to acknowledge the true size of recent increases in its defence spending is raising global suspicion about its military intentions.
2008: Canada declares a chemical widely used in food packaging a toxic substance and says it will move to ban plastic baby bottles containing bisphenol A.
2009: A suicide bomber kills five senior commanders of the powerful Revolutionary Guard and at least 37 others near the Pakistani border, in the heartland of a potentially escalating Sunni insurgency.
2011: Looking thin, weary and dazed, Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit emerges from more than five years in captivity, surrounded by Hamas militants with black face masks who hand him over to Egyptian mediators in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
2013: The day after Saudi Arabia and four other nations are named as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, Saudi Arabia astonishes observers by rejecting the long-sought seat, in protest over Syria.
2021: Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso declares a 60-day state of emergency in response to a violent crime wave caused by the power struggle between drug cartels.
2022: The Girl Scouts of the USA announces its receipt of donations totaling US$84.5 million from American philanthropist MacKenzie Scott — ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, former Canadian Prime Minister (1919-2000); Lee Harvey Oswald, accused killer of US President John F Kennedy (1939-1963); Chuck Berry, US singer (1926-2017); Martina Navratilova, Czech tennis player (1956- ); Precious Wilson, Jamaican soul singer (1957- ); Wynton Marsalis, jazz/classical trumpeter (1961- )
— AP/ Jamaica Observer