It’s Sunday, Oct. 7, the 281st day of 2012. There are 85 days left in the year.
• Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez fights for his political life in today’s presidential election, where the president faces a charismatic challenger who has energized the opposition. A8
• Rocket maker SpaceX is poised to lift off on its way to the International Space Station with its Dragon spacecraft to carry out the first contracted cargo resupply flight in NASA’s history.
• The last beer of the 179th Oktoberfest will be served as Munich’s storied multiweek festival closes.
Highlights: In 1849, author Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore. In 1960, John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon held their second televised debate. In 1982, the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical “Cats" opened on Broadway. (The show closed in 2000, after a record 7,485 performances.) In 1992, NAFTA was signed during a ceremony in San Antonio. In 2001, the war in Afghanistan started as the U.S. 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: In an address to the nation, President George W. Bush labeled Saddam Hussein a “homicidal dictator" and said the threat from Iraq was unique and imminent.
Five years ago: Nine skydivers and a pilot were killed in Washington when their plane crashed in the Cascades.
One year ago: The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women: two Liberians and a Yemeni.
Retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu is 81. Comedian Joy Behar (of “The View") is 70. Former National Security Council aide Oliver North is 69. Singer John Mellencamp is 61. Actress Christopher Norris is 59. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is 57. Recording executive and TV personality Simon Cowell is 53. Rhythm-and-blues singer Toni Braxton is 45. Rock singer-musician Thom Yorke (Radiohead) is 44. Singer Taylor Hicks is 36. Actor Omar Benson Miller is 34. MLB player Evan Longoria is 27. Actress Amber Stevens is 26.
— From wire reports