Today is Wednesday, Oct. 15, the 288th day of 2003 with 77 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 Roman poet Virgil in 70 B.C.; German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche in 1844; boxing champion John L. Sullivan in 1858; English writer and humorist P.G. Wodehouse in 1881; Mervyn LeRoy, producer of the film "The Wizard of Oz," in 1900; picture archivist Otto Bettmann in 1903; writer and historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in 1917 (age 86); author Mario Puzo in 1920; former Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee Iacocca in 1924 (age 79); actress Linda Lavin in 1937 (age 66); actress/director Penny Marshall in 1943 (age 60); Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Palmer in 1945 (age 58); pop singers Richard Carpenter in 1946 (age 57) and Tito Jackson in 1953 (age 50); and Sarah, Duchess of York, in 1959 (age 44).
On this date in history:
In 1917, the most famous spy of World War I, Gertrude Zelle, better known as Mata Hari, was executed by a firing squad outside Paris.
In 1946, Nazi Reichsmarshal Herman Goering, sentenced to death as a war criminal, committed suicide in his prison cell on the eve of his execution.
In 1951, "I Love Lucy," TV's first long-running sitcom and still seen regularly in syndication, made its debut.
In 1964, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was ousted and replaced by Alexei Kosygin and Leonid Brezhnev.
In 1984, astronomers in Pasadena, Calif., displayed the first photographic evidence of another solar system 293-trillion miles from Earth.
In 1989, Hurricane Jerry hit the Texas coast, killing three people.
In 1990, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1991, the Senate confirmed Judge Clarence Thomas as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 52-48, the closest confirmation vote in court history.
Also in 1992, a man who terrorized the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don for more than a decade with a series of more than 50 grisly murders was sentenced to death.
In 1993, South Africa's President F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela were named winners of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
Also in 1993, the Pentagon censured three Navy admirals who'd organized the Tailhook Association convention in 1991, during which scores of women had been subjected to abuse and indignities by junior officers.
And in 1993, Russia's ousted vice president, Alekandr Rutskoi, and the speaker of the parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, were charged with ordering mass disorders in the bloody street fighting between supporters and opponents of President Boris Yeltsin that left almost 200 people dead.
In 1994, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to Haiti three years after being driven into exile by a military coup.
In 1995, Iranian-backed guerillas killed six Israeli soldiers in Israel's security zone along the border with Lebanon.
In 1998, talks that would lead to an agreement to revive the stalled Middle East peace process began at the Wye Conference Center in Queenstown, Md.
In 1999, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the international group Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres).
In 2001, a package containing a substance believed to be anthrax was opened in the personal office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
In 2002, the Washington area sniper claimed his ninth fatality, a female FBI analyst, as the massive manhunt continued with authorities on the lookout for two vehicles that could be linked to the two-week rash of apparently random shootings.
Also in 2002, former ImClone Chief Executive Officer Samuel Waksal pleaded guilty to insider trading as part of an ongoing investigation into the trading of shares from his biotech company, which also involved home decor diva and Waksal friend Martha Stewart.
And, in 2002, the Dow Jones industrials, which hit a five-year low only four trading days earlier, rebounded strongly and by this date had reached 8,255.68, more than 900 points above that low.
A thought for the day: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, "Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius."