Today is Thursday, Oct. 12, the 285h day of 2006 with 80 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Venus and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, Mars and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include Elmer Sperry, who devised practical uses for the gyroscope, in 1860; English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1872; comedian and activist Dick Gregory in 1932 (age 74); opera singer Luciano Pavarotti in 1935 (age 71); TV correspondent Chris Wallace in 1947 (age 59); singer/actress Susan Anton in 1950 (age 56); actors Adam Rich in 1968 (age 38) and Kirk Cameron in 1970 (age 36); and track star Marion Jones in 1975 (age 31).
On this date in history:
In 1492, Christopher Columbus reached America, making his first landing in the New World on one of the Bahamas Islands. Columbus believed he had reached India.
In 1899, the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State in southern Africa declared war on the British. The Boer War was ended May 31, 1902, by the Treaty of Vereeniging.
In 1915, British nurse Edith Cavell, 49, was executed by a German firing squad in Brussels for helping Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during World War I.
In 1960, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev removed one of his shoes and pounded it on his desk during a speech before the United Nations.
In 1964, the Soviet Union launched Voskhod 1 into orbit around Earth, with three cosmonauts aboard. It was the first spacecraft to carry a multi-person crew and the two-day mission was also the first flight performed without space suits.
In 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher escaped injury in the bombing of a hotel in Brighton, England. Four people were killed in the attack, blamed on the Irish Republican Army.
In 1991, Iran agreed to withdraw its 1,500 Revolutionary Guards from Lebanon.
In 1992, more than 500 people were killed and thousands injured when an earthquake rocked Cairo, Egypt.
In 1993, New Delhi announced that more than 9,700 people had died in an earthquake the previous month in southern India.
In 1995, a cease-fire took effect in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In 1998, University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard died, five days after the 21-year-old gay man was beaten, robbed and left tied to a fence.
In 1999, the elected government of Pakistan was overthrown in an apparently bloodless military coup. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and several other leaders were arrested.
In 2002, the terror continued for Washington area residents as the weeklong death toll from a mysterious sniper reached eight.
Also in 2002, a bomb exploded near two crowded discos on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people.
In 2003, 2-year-old Egyptian twins joined at the head were successfully separated at Dallas Children's Medical Center.
Also in 2003, Uganda says its army rescued more than 400 children held captive by rebels in a remote village north of the capital of Kampala.
In 2004, a report of the CIA's top weapons investigator said Saddam Hussein thought U.S. officials knew he had no weapons of mass destruction before the invasion.
In 2005, newly released documents charged that the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles allegedly shielded priests accused of sexual abuse by moving them from one parish to another.
Also in 2005, a lynch mob of about 500 Indonesians -- on the third anniversary of the Bali terror bombings -- stormed the Denpasar prison where three convicted bombers were held but were turned back by police.
A thought for the day: Chinese educator, writer and diplomat Tehyi Hsieh said, "The key to success isn't much good until one discovers the right lock to insert it in."