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What Happened on November 3?

  • A Lebanese magazine broke the US Iran-Contra Scandal. (1986) The magazine, Ash-Shiraa, reported the secret US sales of weapons to Iran. The sales were officially intended to improve US-Iran political relations, but ended up looking like a trade for the release of seven US hostages being held captive in Lebanon. At the time of the secret sales, Iran was under a US arms embargo. Fourteen officials were indicted and 11 were convicted, but all ended up later being pardoned by US President George H.W. Bush.

  • Residents of Washington D.C. were allowed to vote in a US Presidential election for the first time. (1964) In 1801, the Washington district was established as a US Congressional jurisdiction, which meant any residents there would not be allowed to vote. The passing of the 23rd Amendment to the US Constitution, which passed in 1961, reversed this policy, allowing D.C. residents to vote.

  • Fighting in the First Opium War broke out. (1839) The opium wars between the Qing Dynasty in China and the United Kingdom and Ireland were the result of long-standing trade disputes between the British Empire and China. British merchants were smuggling opium into China, violating the country's prohibition laws. China lost the fight, which spanned three years and led to the Second Opium War from 1856 to 1860. China lost that battle as well and was forced to accept the illegal drug trafficking. It also was forced into signing two treaties that opened more unrestricted trade ports in China.

  • The US established a permanent income tax. (1913) An income tax had been temporarily imposed on US citizens to help fund the American Civil War, and later the US Congress tried to institute it again, but in 1895 the US Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional because it wasn't imposed equally on all states. In 1913, Congress passed the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution, which established an equal, permanent income tax system.

  • The Soviet Union launched the first living animal into orbit. (1957) A female dog named Laika was launched on the Soviet satellite Sputnik 2. She ended up dying from stress and overheating, but scientists had planned to poison her to death anyway because she would have been burned to death when the satellite reentered the Earth's atmosphere.

  • The Allied victory at the "Second Battle of El Alamein" forced German troops to retreat, ending the Axis plans to capture Egypt. (1942) The battle was a turning point in World War II, weakening the Axis forces in North Africa.

  • NASA launched Mariner 10 on its path toward the planet Mercury. (1973) The space probe was the first ever to reach that planet; its mission also included a Venus flyby, which it also achieved.

  • Japanese troops were given the order to bomb Pearl Harbor in 34 days. (1941) The order, called "Top-Secret Order No. 1," also included attacks on the Philippines, Mayala and the Dutch East Indies. Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7.

  • The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce was founded in India. (1838) The newspaper, which later was renamed The Times of India now is the world's most-circulated daily print newspaper written in the English language. It has a daily circulation of more than three million copies.

  • Panama declared its independence from Gran Columbia. (1903) Previously, Panama had been under Spanish rule, but broke away in 1821 to join the Republic of Gran Columbia, a union of Columbia, Venezuela and Ecuador. With assistance from the US, Panama seceded from the union and declared independence. The country's independence also paved the way for the US to begin construction on the Panama Canal, which began in 1904.

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