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Today is the 285th day of 2018 and the 21st day of autumn.

TODAY’S HISTORY: In 1492, explorer Christopher Columbus’ expedition made landfall in the Bahamas.

In 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited by students in public schools for the first time, in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage.

In 1945, the Allied Control Council in Germany decreed that the Nazi political party be dissolved.

In 2000, a suicide bomb attack on the USS Cole in Yemen killed 17 sailors and wounded 39.

In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to increase public knowledge about climate change.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS: Dick Gregory (1932-2017), comedian/author; Tony Kubek (1935-), broadcaster/baseball player; Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007), opera singer; Chris Wallace (1947-), TV journalist; Hugh Jackman (1968-), actor; Kirk Cameron (1970-), actor; Marion Jones (1975-), track and field athlete; Bode Miller (1977-), Olympic skier; Josh Hutcherson (1992-), actor.

TODAY’S FACT: The United Nations Population Fund estimated that the world’s population reached 7 billion at the end of October 2011, but according to U.S. Census Bureau demographers, that number was not reached until four months later.

TODAY’S SPORTS: In 2003, Michael Schumacher won his sixth Formula One Drivers’ championship, breaking a record held for 47 years by Juan Manuel Fangio.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “Love is man’s natural endowment, but he doesn’t know how to use it. He refuses to recognize the power of love because of his love of power.” — Dick Gregory

TODAY’S NUMBER: 42 — the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything, according to Douglas Adams’ comedy science fiction novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” published on this day in 1979.

TODAY’S MOON: Between new moon (Oct. 8) and first quarter moon (Oct. 16).

Gerry OBrien, Editor