Today is Monday, Oct. 23, the 296th day of 2006 with 69 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Venus, Saturn and Mars. The evening stars are Mercury, Pluto, Jupiter and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include French chef Nicholas Appert, inventor of the canning process, in 1752; Adlai E. Stevenson, vice president under Grover Cleveland from 1893-1897, in 1835; pioneering college football coach John Heisman in 1869; William Coolidge, inventor of the X-ray tube, in 1873; Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel, in 1906; former "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson in 1925; pro golfer Juan "Chi Chi" Rodriguez in 1935 (age 71); Brazilian soccer star Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento) in 1940 (age 66); author Michael Crichton in 1942 (age 64); filmmaker Ang Lee in 1954 (age 52); singers Dwight Yoakam in 1956 (age 50) and "Weird Al" Yankovic in 1959 (age 47); and football players Doug Flutie and Mike Tomczak, both in 1962 (age 44).
On this date in history:
In 1707, the British Parliament met for the first time.
In 1942, the British Eighth Army launched an offensive at El Alamein in Egypt, a World War II battle that eventually swept the Germans out of North Africa.
In 1945, Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player hired by a major league team, was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers and sent to their Montreal farm team.
In 1972, earthquakes killed more than 10,000 people in Nicaragua.
In 1983, suicide bomb attacks on peacekeeping troops in Beirut killed 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French soldiers.
In 1989, Hungary formally declared an end to 40 years of communist rule and proclaimed itself a republic, setting the stage for creation of Western-style democracy in the Eastern Bloc state.
In 1990, Iraq released 64 British hostages.
In 1993, the Toronto Blue Jays won baseball's World Series for the second year in a row.
In 1995, the U.S. Defense Department announced it was ending a program designed to help minority-owned firms secure government contracts.
In 1998, after nine days of tense negotiations at the Wye Conference Center in Queenstown, Md., Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat signed an agreement to revive the stalled Middle East peace process.
Also in 1998, Dr. Barnett Slepian, an obstetrician who performed abortions, was shot to death by a sniper who fired a bullet through a widow of Slepian's home in Amherst, N.Y.
In 2001, U.S.-led forces maintained their intense pressure on the Taliban, pounding positions around the Afghan capital of Kabul and the militia's southern stronghold of Kandahar for the 17th consecutive day.
In 2002, a group of 20 Chechen gunmen stormed a Moscow theater, taking hostage more than 700 members of the audience, actors and theater staff, and demanding an end to the war in the separatist republic.
Also in 2002, authorities say the sniper who has terrorized the Washington region for the past three weeks -- killing 10 people and wounding three others -- has demanded $10 million in cash and threatened to begin attacking children of the area if demands are not met.
In 2003, the U.S. Congress passed a bill banning late-term abortions, a procedure critics refer to as partial-birth abortions.
In 2004, with the U.S. presidential election less than two weeks away, a Time survey had President George W. Bush holding a 5-point lead over Democratic challenger John Kerry.
Also in 2004, insurgents struck at three minibuses carrying U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers, reportedly killing about 50 of them.
In 2005, Hurricane Wilma picked up strength and speed as it crossed the Gulf of Mexico and headed for Florida.
Also in 2005, all 117 people aboard were reported killed in the crash of a Nigerian plane crash shortly after takeoff from Lagos.
A thought for the day: The New Testament says, "Charity shall cover a multitude of sins."