Today is Wednesday, Oct. 26, the 299th day of 2005 with 66 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. The evening stars are Mercury, Pluto, Venus, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky in 1879; gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in 1911; bandleader Charlie Barnett in 1913; French President Francois Mitterrand in 1916; Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last shah of Iran, in 1919; actor Bob Hoskins in 1942 (age 63); author Pat Conroy in 1945 (age 60); TV personality Pat Sajak and filmmaker Ivan Reitman, both in 1946 (age 59); Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, in 1947 (age 58); and actors Jaclyn Smith in 1948 (age 57) and Cary Elwes and Dylan McDermott, both in 1962 (age 43); and singer Natalie Merchant in 1963 (age 42).
On this date in history:
In 1906, workers in St. Petersburg set up the first Russian "soviet," or council.
In 1920, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Ireland, Terence McSwiney, died after a 2 1/2-month hunger strike in a British prison cell, demanding independence for Ireland.
In 1942, Japanese warships sank the aircraft carrier USS Hornet off the Solomon Islands.
In 1944, after four days of furious fighting, the World War II battle of Leyte Gulf, largest air-naval clash in history, ended with a decisive U.S. victory over the Japanese.
In 1965, the Beatles were presented the prestigious Member of the Order of the British Empire medals by Queen Elizabeth. John Lennon stirred up controversy by commenting to a reporter, "We're more popular than Jesus Christ right now."
In 1979, South Korean President Park Chung Hee was assassinated by the director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.
In 1984, Dr. Leonard L. Bailey performed the first baboon-to-human heart transplant, replacing a 14-day-old infant girl's defective heart with a healthy, walnut-sized heart of a young baboon at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.
In 1990, Washington, Mayor Marion Barry was sentenced to six months in prison and fined $5,000 for his conviction on misdemeanor drug charges.
In 1992, besieged GM Chairman Robert Stempel resigned as head of the No. 1 U.S. automaker.
In 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty at a desert site along the Israeli-Jordanian border.
In 1995, Russian President Boris Yeltsin was hospitalized with heart trouble for the second time in less than four months.
Also in 1995, Islamic Jihad leader Fathi ash-Shiqaqi was assassinated in Malta.
In 1998, just one day before threatened NATO air strikes were to begin, Serbian soldiers and police began what was said to be a significant pullback from positions in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, where they were massacring ethnic Albanians.
Also in 1998, the presidents of Ecuador and Peru signed a peace treaty, ending a decades-long border dispute between the two countries.
In 2001, six weeks after the worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil, President Bush signed into law a tough measure giving law enforcement agencies expanded authority in their battle against terrorism.
In 2002, Moscow's four-day hostage crisis came to a bloody end when Russian soldiers stormed a theater where Chechen rebels had held 700 people for ransom. Ninety hostages and 50 rebels were killed.
In 2003, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz escaped a rocket attack on a heavily guarded Baghdad hotel.
In 2004, a U.N. investigation into Iraq's oil-for-food program reportedly turned up names of several prominent politicians in France, Russia and elsewhere said to have received illegal Iraqi oil from Saddam Hussein.
A thought for the day: English writer William Hazlitt said, "Men of genius do not excel in any profession because their labor in it, but they labor in it because they excel."
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