Today is Monday, Oct. 20, the 294th day of 2008 with 72 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Saturn and Mercury. The evening stars are Mars, Venus, Neptune, Jupiter and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include English astronomer and architect Christopher Wren in 1632; French poet Arthur Rimbaud in 1854; James Robert Mann, Illinois congressman and author of the "White Slave Traffic Act," also known as the "Mann Act," in 1856; educator John Dewey in 1859; composer Charles Ives in 1874; actor Bela Lugosi ("Dracula") in 1882; singer/pianist/composer Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton in 1890; mystery writer Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay) in 1905; TV personality Arlene Francis in 1907; country singer Grandpa (Louis Marshall) Jones in 1913; actor Herschel Bernardi in 1923; humorist Art Buchwald in 1925; former New York Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle in 1931; actors William Christopher ("M*A*S*H") in 1932 (age 76), Jerry Orbach in 1935 and Viggo Mortensen in 1958 (age 50); and rock singer Tom Petty in 1950 (age 58).
On this date in history:
In 1818, the United States and Britain agreed to establish the 49th parallel as the official boundary between the United States and Canada.
In 1918, Germany accepted U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's terms to end World War I.
In 1944, U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur kept his promise to return to the Philippines Islands when he landed with U.S. forces during World War II.
In 1947, the U.S. House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee opened public hearings into communist influence in Hollywood.
In 1982, the world's worst soccer disaster occurred in Moscow when 340 fans were crushed to death in an open staircase during a game between Soviet and Dutch players.
In 1990, the rap group 2 Live Crew was acquitted in Miami of obscenity charges arising from a performance of selections from the album "As Nasty As They Wanna Be."
In 1994, Hollywood heavyweight Burt Lancaster died at the age of 80.
In 2000, a former U.S. Army sergeant pleaded guilty to joining in a terrorist plot against the United States, linking Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden to the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
In 2003, The London Mirror said that British Princess Diana claimed there was a plot to kill her in a car crash in a handwritten letter 10 months before she died in an auto accident.
In 2004, Margaret Hassan, chief of operations for the British-based CARE charity, was kidnapped on her way to work in Iraq by unknown armed militants. CARE suspended its work in Iraq soon after.
Also in 2004, retired Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was sworn in as Indonesia's sixth president after winning the country's first direct elections for head of state.
In 2005, former U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, was booked in Houston after his indictment on conspiracy and money laundering charges. He was freed on $10,000 bond.
Also in 2005, Pakistan set the official death toll of the Oct. 8 quake at 47,000 but various aid officials claim it was closer to 80,000. Three million people were reported without shelter as winter approached the Himalayan region.
In 2007, Afghan President Hamid Karzai asked Iran, Pakistan and Turkey and several, smaller Central Asian states for help in fighting terrorism in the region.
Also in 2007, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue declared a drought disaster in his state and asked for federal aid to combat "the single worst drought in North Georgia's history."
A thought for the day: American Red Cross founder Clara Barton said, "The surest test of discipline is its absence."