Today is Thursday, Oct. 23, the 297th day of 2008 with 69 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 Scorpio. They include French chef Nicholas Appert, inventor of the canning process, in 1752; Adlai E. Stevenson, U.S. vice president under Grover Cleveland from 1893-97, 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 73); Brazilian soccer star Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento) in 1940 (age 68); author Michael Crichton in 1942 (age 66); filmmaker Ang Lee in 1954 (age 54); singers Dwight Yoakam in 1956 (age 52) and "Weird Al" Yankovic in 1959 (age 49); and football players Doug Flutie and Mike Tomczak, both in 1962 (age 46).
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. He moved up to the Dodgers in 1947 and became one of the sport's greatest stars.
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 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 window of Slepian's home in Amherst, N.Y.
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.
In 2003, the U.S. Congress passed a bill banning late-term abortions.
In 2004, insurgents struck at three minibuses carrying U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers, reportedly killing about 50 of them.
In 2005, all 117 people aboard were reported killed in the crash of a Nigerian plane crash shortly after takeoff from Lagos.
In 2006, Iran said it is ready to have talks on its nuclear program while other reports spoke of threatened retaliation if U.N. sanctions were imposed.
Also in 2006, Panamanians voted overwhelmingly to support a proposal to expand the Panama Canal to allow larger ships to pass through.
In 2007, a U.S. federal audit of a State Department's private security contractor in Iraq said that $1.2 billion couldn't be accounted for in police training expenses.
A thought for the day: the Apostle Peter wrote, "Charity shall cover a multitude of sins."