On this day, Oct. 17 …

1931: Mobster Al Capone is convicted in Chicago of income tax evasion. (Capone would be sentenced to 11 years in prison but released in 1939.)

Also on this day:

  • 1777: British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrender to American troops in Saratoga, N.Y., in a turning point of the Revolutionary War.
  • 1907: Guglielmo Marconi begins offering limited commercial wireless telegraph service between Nova Scotia and Ireland.
  • 1933: Albert Einstein arrives in the United States as a refugee from Nazi Germany.
  • 1939: Frank Capra’s comedy-drama “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” starring James Stewart as an idealistic junior U.S. senator, has its premiere in the nation’s capital.
  • 1966: The TV game show “The Hollywood Squares” premieres on NBC.
  • 1967: Puyi, the last emperor of China, dies in Beijing at age 61.
  • 1973: Arab oil-producing nations announce they will begin cutting back oil exports to Western nations and Japan; the result will be a total embargo that lasts until March 1974.
  • 1978: President Carter signs a bill restoring U.S. citizenship to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
  • 1979: Mother Teresa is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • 1989: The Loma Prieta earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, strikes Northern California, killing 63 people, delaying the World Series and causing $6 billion in damage.
  • 2014: The World Health Organization acknowledges it botched attempts to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming staff, lack of information and budget cuts. 
  • 2018: Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who played Big Bird on “Sesame Street,” announces his retirement after nearly 50 years on the show. (Spinney would die in December 2019)


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