Today is Thursday, Oct. 7, the 281st day of 2004 with 85 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and, Mars. The evening stars are Mercury, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include poet James Whitcomb Riley in 1849; Grand Ole Opry star Uncle Dave Macon in 1870; Danish atomic physicist Niels Bohr in 1885; Henry Wallace, 33rd vice president of the United States and 1948 independent candidate for president, in 1888; actor Andy Devine in 1905; singer Vaughn Monroe in 1911; actress June Allyson in 1917 (age 87); actor/singer Al Martino in 1927 (age 77); South African archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu in 1931 (age 73); Oliver North, the former White House aide who became the center of the Iran-Contra controversy, in 1943 (age 61); rock singer John Mellencamp in 1951 (age 53); classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 1955 (age 49); and singer Toni Braxton in 1967 (age 37).
On this date in history:
In 1913, for the first time, Henry Ford's entire Highland Park automobile factory was run on a continuously moving assembly line.
In 1916, in the most lopsided football game on record, Georgia Tech humbled Cumberland University, 222-0.
In 1949, less than five months after Great Britain, the United States, and France established the Federal Republic of Germany in West Germany, the Democratic Republic of Germany (East Germany) was proclaimed within the Soviet occupation zone.
In 1968, the movie industry adopted a film ratings system for the first time: G (for general audiences), M (for mature audiences), R (no one under 16 admitted without an adult) and X (no one under 16 admitted).
In 1985, four Palestinian terrorists commandeered the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro with 511 passengers and crew off Egypt and threatened to blow it up unless Israel freed Palestinian prisoners. The hijackers, who surrendered in Port Said two days later, killed an American passenger.
Also in 1985, a mudslide in Ponce, Puerto Rico, killed an estimated 500 people in the island's worst disaster this century.
In 1989, the Hungarian Communist Party ditched its name and adopted the label of Socialist.
Also in 1989, East Germany celebrated its 40th anniversary as a communist state amid pro-reform demonstrations.
In 1991, Iran freed U.S. telecommunications engineer John Pattis, ending five years of captivity on charges of spying for the CIA.
Also in 1991, U.N. inspectors discovered an Iraqi nuclear weapons research center intact.
And in 1991, Slovenia and Croatia formally declared secession from Yugoslavia.
In 1992, President Bush and the leaders of Mexico and Canada signed the North American Free Trade Agreement. The pact would create the world's largest trading block.
Also in 1992, a West Virginia Air National Guard cargo plane crashed into a house in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. All six crewmembers were killed, but the home's resident escaped with minor injuries.
In 1994, President Clinton announced he was sending the Navy and Marines in response to an Iraqi military build-up along the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border.
In 1997, scientists announced they had found one of the most massive stars known, behind a dense dust cloud in the Milky Way that had previously concealed it. The star was 25,000 light-years from Earth.
In 1998, gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard suffered mortal injuries in a beating and died five days later. Two men were charged with murder.
In 1999, American Home Products, the makers of the diet drug combination known as "fen-phen," agreed to a $3.75 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit stemming from the drugs' use, which was linked to heart valve problems.
In 2000, Vojislav Kostunica was sworn in as Yugoslavia's new president.
In 2001, in the war on terror, the U.S. and Britain began a series of nightly attacks on targets in Afghanistan, using cruise missiles and long-range bombers in an assault directed at airports, air defenses and communication and command centers.
In a pre-recorded tape played on this date, 2001, Osama bin Laden warned, "America will not live in peace" until peace came to "Palestine" and "until the army of infidels depart the land of Muhammad."
In 2002, the sniper terrorizing the Washington area struck again, this time shooting and critically wounding a 13-year-old boy as he was being dropped off at school in Bowie, Md.
Also in 2002, President Bush said in a speech that only the removal of Saddam Hussein from power will end the U.S. confrontation with Iraq.
A thought for the day: in "Don Quixote," Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes wrote, "Valour lies just half way between rashness and cowheartedness."