Today is Friday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2006 with 72 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Venus and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, Mars and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include English astronomer and architect Christopher Wren in 1632; French poet Arthur Rimbaud in 1854; James Robert Mann, Illinois congressman and author of the "White Slave Traffic Act," also known as the "Mann Act," in 1856; educator John Dewey in 1859; composer Charles Ives in 1874; actor Bela Lugosi ("Dracula") in 1882; singer/pianist/composer Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton in 1890; mystery writer Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay) in 1905; TV personality Arlene Francis in 1907; country singer Grandpa (Louis Marshall) Jones in 1913; actor Herschel Bernardi in 1923; newspaper columnist Art Buchwald in 1925 (age 81); former New York Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle in 1931; actors William Christopher ("M*A*S*H") in 1932 (age 74) and Jerry Orbach in 1935; and rock singer Tom Petty in 1950 (age 56).
On this date in history:
In 1818, the United States and Britain agreed to establish the 49th parallel as the official boundary between the United States and Canada.
In 1918, Germany accepted U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's terms to end World War I.
In 1944, U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur kept his promise to return to the Philippines Islands when he landed with U.S. forces during World War II.
In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee opened public hearings into communist influence in Hollywood.
In 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon fired special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox.
In 1982, the world's worst soccer disaster occurred in Moscow when 340 fans were crushed to death in an open staircase during a game between Soviet and Dutch players.
In 1990, the rap group 2 Live Crew was acquitted in Miami of obscenity charges arising from a performance of selections from the album "As Nasty As They Wanna Be."
In 1994, Hollywood heavyweight Burt Lancaster died at the age of 80.
In 2000, a former U.S. Army sergeant pleaded guilty to joining in a terrorist plot against the United States, linking Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden to the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
In 2001, anthrax scares continued across the world as reports of letters with white powder possibly containing anthrax -- nearly all false alarms so far -- were found. Work resumed in Washington where an anthrax discovery had temporarily closed the U.S. Congress.
In 2002, showing its displeasure with North Korea for restarting its nuclear program, the United States was reported to be considering cutting off vital fuel oil supplies to that country.
In 2003, The London Mirror said that British Princess Diana claimed there was a plot to kill her in a car crash in a handwritten letter 10 months before she died in an auto accident.
In 2004, Margaret Hassan, chief of operations for the British-based CARE charity, was kidnapped on her way to work in Iraq by unknown armed militants. CARE suspended its work in Iraq soon after.
Also in 2004, retired Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was sworn in as Indonesia's sixth president after winning the country's first direct elections for head of state.
In 2005, former U.S. House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, was booked in Houston after his indictment on conspiracy and money laundering charges. He was freed on $10,000 bond.
Also in 2005, Pakistan set the official death toll of the Oct. 8 quake at 47,000, but various aid officials claim it was closer to 80,000. Three million people were reported without shelter as winter approached the Himalayan region.
A thought for the day: American Red Cross founder Clara Barton said, "The surest test of discipline is its absence."