The almanac

By United Press International   |   Oct. 18, 2011 at 3:30 AM

Today is Tuesday, Oct. 18, the 291st day of 2011 with 74 to follow.

The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Neptune, Uranus and Venus. The evening stars are Saturn, Jupiter and Mars.

Those born on this day are under the sign of Libra. They include novelist Fannie Hurst in 1889; former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and singer Anita O'Day, both in 1919; former Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, in 1921; Greek actor Melina Mercouri in 1920; rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry in 1926 (age 85); actors George C. Scott in 1927, Inger Stevens in 1934, Peter Boyle in 1935 and Dawn Wells in 1938 (age 73); Lee Harvey Oswald, assumed assassin of President John F. Kennedy, in 1939; former pro football star and coach Mike Ditka in 1939 (age 72); singer-songwriter Laura Nyro in 1947; actors Joe Morton in 1947 (age 64) and Pam Dawber in 1951 (age 60); playwright Wendy Wasserstein in 1950; writer Terry McMillan in 1951 (age 60); tennis Hall of Fame member Martina Navratilova in 1956 (age 55); musician Wynton Marsalis in 1961 (age 50); actors Jean-Claude Van Damme and Erin Moran, both in 1960 (age 51; Olympic gold medal-winner skier Lindsey Vonn in 1984 (age 26); actor Zac Efron in 1987 (age 24); and television personality Bristol Palin in 1990 (age 21).

On this date in history:

In 1776, the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania was settled. Dubbed the "Mason-Dixon" line, it became the unofficial boundary between North and South.

In 1851, "Moby-Dick" by Herman Melville was published.

In 1898, the United States took control of Puerto Rico one year after Spain had granted self-rule to the Caribbean nation.

In 1922, the British Broadcasting Corp. was established.

In 1925, Grand Ole Opry opened in Nashville.

In 1931, Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most prolific inventors in history, died in West Orange, N.J., at the age of 84.

In 1959, the Soviet Union announced an unmanned space vehicle had taken the first pictures of the far side of the moon.

In 1974, the jury in the Watergate coverup trial heard a tape recording in which U.S. President Richard Nixon told aide John Dean to try to stop the Watergate burglary investigation before it implicated White House personnel.

In 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan ordered an investigation of a CIA handbook for Nicaraguan rebels that suggested assassination as a political tactic.

In 1991, Israel and the Soviet Union agreed to renew full diplomatic relations for the first time since 1967.

In 1992, numerous civilians were killed or wounded when Serbian forces unleashed a citywide artillery barrage on Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In 2002, North Korea revealed it was working on a secret nuclear weapons program and U.S. intelligence officials concluded that Pakistan was a major supplier of critical equipment for it.

In 2004, exhumation orders were issued for 42 bodies in Sonthofen, Germany, where a hospital orderly admitted to giving lethal injections to 16 patients.

In 2007, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned home after eight years in exile to triumphant fanfare that gave way to panic when a suicide bomber killed a reported 139 people in her convoy. She wasn't hurt.

In 2008, public health officials in North Bay, Ontario, said the number of people sickened by E. coli bacteria at Harvey's fast-food restaurant rose to 131 with hamburgers the suspected source.

In 2009, a suicide bomber struck a meeting of Iranian Shiites and Sunnis in Sabaaz, killing at least 42, including six senior officers of the elite Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Also in 2009, the African Union gave its backing to a call for an arms embargo on Guinea for the alleged slaying of 157 political prisoners.

In 2010, a federal jury in New York convicted four men of plotting to bomb a synagogue and Jewish community center and shoot down U.S. military aircraft.

Also in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI canonized six new saints, including the first from Canada and Australia.

A thought for the day: French author George Sand (Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin) said, "Simplicity is the essence of the great, the true and the beautiful in art."

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