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The Almanac

By United Press International   |   Oct. 8, 2001 at 4:45 AM
Today is Monday, Oct. 8, the 281st day of 2001 with 84 to follow.

The Columbus Day holiday is observed today.

This is Thanksgiving Day in Canada.

The moon is waning, moving toward its last quarter.

The morning stars are Venus, Jupiter and Saturn.

The evening stars are Mercury and Mars.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker in 1890; Argentine dictator Juan Peron in 1895; travel guide author Temple Hornaday Fielding in 1913; pioneering South African heart-transplant surgeon Dr. Christiaan Barnard in 1922; actor David Carradine and gossip columnist Rona Barrett, both in 1936 (age 65); civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1941 (age 60); "Goosebumps" author R.L. Stine in 1943 (age 58); and actors Paul Hogan in 1939 (age 62), Chevy Chase in 1943 (age 58), Sigourney Weaver in 1949 (age 52) and Matt Damon in 1970 (age 31).

On this date in history:

In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire started. It destroyed more than 17,000 buildings, killed more than 300 people and left 90,000 homeless. That same day, a forest fire began at Peshtigo, Wisconsin, eventually burning some 850 square miles and killing about 1,100 people.

In 1918, Sgt. Alvin York of Tennessee became a World War I hero by single-handedly capturing a hill in the Argonne Forest of France, killing 20 enemy soldiers and capturing 132 others.

In 1919, Congress passed the Volstead Act, prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages.

In 1967, Argentinian-born Communist revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, an important figure in the 1959 Cuban revolution, was killed while leading a guerrilla war in Bolivia.

In 1990, at least 17 Moslems were killed by Israeli police in rioting on the Temple Mount, the third holiest site in Islam.

In 1991, a federal judge in Anchorage, Alaska, approved a $1 billion settlement against Exxon for the Valdez oil spill.

Also in 1991, former assistant secretary of state Elliott Abrams pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal.

And in 1991, the Soviet Union agreed to remove an estimated 45,000 troops from Poland by the end of 1992.

In 1992, former West German chancellor Willy Brandt died of intestinal cancer in his house outside Bonn. He was 78.

In 1993, the U.S. Justice Department released its report on its handling of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas. It concluded the department and Attorney General Reno made no mistakes and that the cult bore the blame for the fire that destroyed the compound, killing at least 75 people.

In 1996, the Vatican announced that Pope John Paul II's appendix had been removed.

In 1997, a major hurricane battered Acapulco, Mexico, and vicinity. The death toll was more than 200, with many more people left homeless.

Also in 1997, three years after the death of longtime North Korean ruler Kim Il Sung, his son, Kim Jong Il, officially inherited his father's title of general secretary of the Communist Party.

In 1998, the House of Representatives voted 258-176 to begin impeachment hearings against President Clinton.

In 2000, as the Israeli-Palestinian violence continued, President Clinton asked Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to hold an urgent summit meeting.

A thought for the day: French actress Sarah Bernhardt said, "Permanent success cannot be achieved except by incessant intellectual labor, always inspired by the ideal."

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