Today is Friday, Oct. 24, the 297th day of 2003 with 68 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 Scorpio. They include pioneering Dutch microscope maker Anton Van Leeuwenhoek in 1632; journalist Sarah Josepha Hale, author of "Mary Had a Little Lamb," in 1788; attorney Belva Lockwood, the first woman candidate for U.S. president, nominated by the National Equal Rights Party, in 1830; film producer-director Merian Cooper ("King Kong") in 1893; former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, whose year of birth has been given variously as 1936 or 1941 (age 67 or 62); NAACP president Kweisi Mfume in 1948 (age 55); actors David Nelson (Ozzie and Harriet's other son) in 1936 (age 67), F. Murray Abraham in 1940 (age 63) and Kevin Kline in 1947 (age 56); and singer Monica (Arnold) in 1980 (age 23).
On this date in history:
In 1648, the Treaty of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years' War in Europe.
In 1861, the first telegram was transmitted across the United States from California Chief Justice Stephen Field to President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C.
In 1901, daredevil Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
In 1945, following Soviet ratification, U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes announced the United Nations charter was in effect. Establishment of the U.N. came less than two months after the end of World War II.
In 1984, the FBI arrested 11 alleged chiefs of the Colombo crime family on charges of racketeering in New York City.
In 1989, TV evangelist Jim Bakker was sentenced to 45 years in prison and fined $500,000 dollars for fleecing his flock.
In 1990, Rep. Donald Lukens, R-Ohio, resigned over new sex charges.
In 1993, the death of Burundi's President Melchior Ndadaye in a military coup was confirmed.
In 1995, the United Nations marked its 50th anniversary. The celebration was the largest gathering of world leaders in history.
In 2001, Pakistan officials said they needed no help in securing their nation's nuclear weapons despite fears they might fall into the hands of Islamic extremists.
Also in 2001, an estranged sister-in-law of Osama bin Laden told a U.S. television show that she believed some members of the Saudi royal family supported the suspected terrorist.
In 2002, police arrested two suspects in the three-week series of sniper attacks in the Washington area that killed 10 and wounded three others. John Allen Muhammad, 41, and John Lee Malvo, 17, were found sleeping in a car at a rest stop outside Frederick, Md.
A thought for the day: Hindu nationalist leader Mohandas Gandhi said, "I believe that a man is the strongest soldier for daring to die unarmed."