Today is Sunday, Oct. 12, the 285th day of 2003 with 80 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mars, Venus, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. 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 71); opera singer Luciano Pavarotti in 1935 (age 68); TV correspondent Chris Wallace in 1947 (age 56); singer/actress Susan Anton in 1950 (age 53); actors Adam Rich in 1968 (age 35) and Kirk Cameron in 1970 (age 33); and track runner Marion Jones in 1975 (age 28).
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 was ended May 31, 1902, by the Treaty of Vereeniging.
In 1915, British nurse Edith Cavell, 49, was executed by a German firing squad in Brussels for helping Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during World War I.
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 1964, the Soviet Union launched Voskhod 1 into orbit around Earth, with three cosmonauts aboard. It was the first spacecraft to carry a multi-person crew and the two-day mission was also the first flight performed without space suits.
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 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 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.
In 2002, the terror continued for Washington area residents as the week-long death toll from a mysterious sniper reached eight. Law officers were on the lookout for a white van seen near a slaying site earlier in the week.
Also in 2002, a bomb exploded near two crowded discos on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people.
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."