Today is Monday, Oct. 8, the 282nd day of 2012 with 84 to go.
This is observed as Columbus Day in the United States.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Venus and Jupiter. The evening stars are Mercury, Neptune, Uranus, Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include musician Dick Burnett in 1883; World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker in 1890; Argentine dictator Juan Peron in 1895; science fiction writer Frank Herbert in 1920; gossip columnist Rona Barrett in 1936 (age 76); tennis Hall of Fame member Fred Stolle in 1938 (age 74); civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1941 (age 71); "Goosebumps" author R.L. Stine in 1943 (age 69); rock 'n' roll Hall of Fame members Johnny Ramone in 1948 and C.J. Ramone in 1965 (age 47); political commentator Steve Coll in 1958 (age 54); Olympic gold medal swimmer Matt Biondi in 1965 (age 47); and actors Paul Hogan in 1939, Chevy Chase in 1943 (age 69), Sigourney Weaver in 1949 (age 63), Darrell Hammond in 1955 (age 57); Stephanie Zimbalist in 1956 (age 56), Matt Damon in 1970 (age 42) and Nick Cannon in 1980 (age 32).
On this date in history:
In 1871, the massive Chicago fire destroyed more than 17,000 buildings, killed more than 300 people and left 90,000 homeless.
Also in 1871, on the same day, a forest fire broke out at Peshtigo, Wis., killing about 1,100 people while burning some 850 square miles.
In 1918, Sgt. Alvin York of Tennessee became a World War I hero by single-handedly capturing a hill in the Argonne Forest of France, killing 20 enemy soldiers and capturing 132 others.
In 1919, The U.S. Congress passed the Volstead Act, prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Also in 1919, the first U.S. transcontinental air race began with 63 planes competing in the round-trip aerial derby between California and New York. Each way took about three days.
In 1967, Argentinean-born Communist revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, an important figure in the 1959 Cuban revolution, was killed while leading a guerrilla war in Bolivia.
In 1990, at least 17 Muslims were killed by Israeli police in rioting on the Temple Mount, the third holiest site in Islam.
In 1991, a U.S. federal judge in Anchorage, Alaska, approved a $1 billion settlement against Exxon for the Valdez oil spill.
In 1993, the U.S. Justice Department, in its report on the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, concluded the cult had caused the fire that destroyed the compound, killing at least 75 people.
In 1998, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 258-176 to begin impeachment hearings against U.S. President Bill Clinton.
In 2001, the United Nations and Secretary-General Kofi Annan shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 2003, some $19 billion in peach-colored, redesigned $20 bills made their official debut across the United States.
In 2004, for the first time the Nobel Peace Prize went to an African woman, Dr. Wangari Maathai, an environmental activist from Kenya.
In 2005, a death toll close to 40,000 was reported in India and Pakistan after an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck the area.
Also in 2005, Tropical Storm Stan killed more than 500 people in Guatemala.
In 2007, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that half of the 5,000 British troops stationed in Iraq would be removed by the end of 2008.
In 2008, a Nepal Yeti Airlines plane, carrying a dozen German tourists and others on a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, crashed near Mount Everest, killing 18 people. One crewman survived.
In 2010, former U.S. Marines Gen. James Jones, U.S. President Obama's national security adviser, announced his resignation reportedly because of statements made to the media about Obama's policies on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Jones was replaced by his deputy, Thomas Donilon.
In 2011, the head of the U.S. Energy Department's loan program, Jonathan Silver. resigned amid a fiscal firestorm over Solyndra, a solar energy company that filed for bankruptcy after receiving a $535 million federal loan guarantee.
Also in 2011, a speeding bus overturned on a North China expressway and collided with a car, killing 35 young people.
A thought for the day: French actor Sarah Bernhardt said, "Permanent success cannot be achieved except by incessant intellectual labor, always inspired by the ideal."