The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Oct. 3, 2003 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, Oct. 3, the 276th day of 2003 with 89 to follow.

The moon is waxing in its first quarter. The morning stars are Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mars, Pluto, Venus, Uranus and Neptune.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include Cherokee Chief John Ross, who led opposition to the forced move of his people to what is now Oklahoma, in 1790; historian George Bancroft in 1800; political cartoonist Herbert Block (Herblock) in 1909 (age 94); novelists Thomas Wolfe in 1900 and Gore Vidal in 1925 (age 78); rock 'n' roll singer Chubby Checker in 1941 (age 62); singer/songwriter Lindsey Buckingham in 1947 (age 56); actor/singer Jack Wagner in 1959 (age 44); and actress Neve Campbell in 1973 (age 30).

On this date in history:

In 1922, Rebecca Felton, a Georgia Democrat, became the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.

In 1932, Iraq won its independence after Britain ended its mandate over the Arab nation following 17 years of British rule.

In 1952, Britain successfully tested its first atomic bomb.

In 1955, the children's show "Captain Kangaroo" with Bob Keeshan in the title role was broadcast for the first time.

In 1967, folksinger and songwriter Woody Guthrie died at the age of 55.

In 1972, President Nixon and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko signed strategic arms limitation agreements, putting the first restrictions on the two countries' nuclear weapons.

In 1981, IRA prisoners at Maze Prison in Belfast, Northern Ireland, ended a seven-month hunger strike in which 10 men died.

In 1989, troops loyal to Panamanian military leader Gen. Manuel Noriega crushed a coup attempt by rebel mid-level officers. Noriega was held briefly by coup plotters and escaped unharmed.

In 1990, formerly communist East Germany merged with West Germany, ending 45 years of post-war division.

In 1991, House Speaker Thomas Foley announced that the House Bank would close because members had bounced thousands of checks against their accounts.

In 1992, William Gates III, the college-dropout founder of Microsoft Corp., headed Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest Americans with a net worth of $6.3 billion.

In 1993, fighting erupted in the streets of Moscow between pro- and anti-Yeltsin forces. 62 people died in the violence that ended two days later when the rebel vice president and speaker of parliament surrendered.

In 1994, Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy announced his resignation, effective at year's end. He was under investigation for accepting gifts from companies regulated by the USDA. Espy denied violating any laws or ethics rules but admitted he'd been careless.

Also in 1994, Fernando Enrique Cardoso was elected president of Brazil.

In 1995, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of charges that he murdered s former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.

Also in 1995, a bomb nearly killed the president of Macedonia, a relatively peaceful part of the former Yugoslavia.

In 1997, in response to Republican calls to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the fund-raising practices of President Clinton and Vice President Gore, Atty. Gen. Janet Reno said there was "no evidence whatsoever" that the president solicited campaign contributions in exchange for favorable treatment.

In 2000, Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic presidential candidate, and his Republican challenger, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, faced off in the first of a series of three presidential debates.

In 2001, amid rising concerns about the use of lethal substances by terrorists, Tommy Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, told a Senate committee that the government was planning to stockpile 40 million doses of smallpox vaccine.

In 2002, fear escalated in the Washington area as five more people were killed apparently by a random sniper.

A thought for the day: American poet Emily Dickenson wrote,

"Behold this little Bane --

"The Boon of all alive --

"As common as it is known

"The name of it is Love."

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