Today is Friday, Oct. 12, the 285th day of 2001 with 80 to follow.
This is the traditional Columbus Day.
The moon is waning, moving toward its new phase.
The morning stars are Venus, Jupiter and Saturn.
The evening stars are Mercury and Mars.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include Elmer Sperry, who devised practical uses for the gyroscope, in 1860; English composer Ralph Vaughn Williams in 1872; comedian and activist Dick Gregory in 1932 (age 69); opera singer Luciano Pavarotti in 1935 (age 66); TV correspondent Chris Wallace in 1947 (age 54); singer/actress Susan Anton in 1950 (age 51); actors Adam Rich in 1968 (age 33) and Kirk Cameron in 1970 (age 31); and track runner Marion Jones in 1975 (age 26).
On this date in history:
In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered America, making his first landing in the New World on one of the Bahama Islands. Columbus believed he had reached India.
In 1899, the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State in southern Africa declared war on the British. The Boer War ended May 31, 1902, by the Treaty of Vereeniging.
In 1960, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev removed one of his shoes and pounded it on his desk during a speech before the United Nations.
In 1973, President Nixon nominated House Minority Leader Gerald Ford for the vice presidency to replace Spiro Agnew, who had resigned in disgrace two days earlier.
In 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher escaped injury in the bombing of a hotel in Brighton, England. Four people were killed in the attack, blamed on the Irish Republican Army.
In 1991, Iran agreed to withdraw its 1,500 Revolutionary Guards from Lebanon.
In 1992, more than 500 people were killed and thousands injured when an earthquake rocked Cairo, Egypt.
Also in 1992, this was the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World.
In 1993, New Delhi announced that more than 9,700 people had died in an earthquake the previous month in southern India.
In 1995, a cease-fire took effect in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In 1997, President Clinton left Washington, D.C., on a week-long visit to three South American countries.
In 1998, University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard died, five days after the 21-year-old gay man was being beaten, robbed and left tied to a fence.
In 1999, the elected government of Pakistan was overthrown in an apparently bloodless military coup. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and several other leaders were arrested.
In 2000, 17 sailors were killed when an explosion rocked the U.S.S. Cole as it refueled in Yemen. President Clinton blamed the attack on accused terrorist Osama bin Laden.
A thought for the day: Chinese educator, writer and diplomat Tehyi Hsieh said, "The key to success isn't much good until one discovers the right lock to insert it in."