The almanac

By United Press International  |  Oct. 25, 2007 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, Oct. 25, the 298th day of 2007 with 67 to follow.

The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn. The evening stars are Uranus, Neptune and Jupiter.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include British historian Thomas Macaulay in 1800; Austrian composer Johann Strauss in 1825; French composer Georges Bizet in 1838; artist Pablo Picasso in 1881; explorer Richard Byrd in 1888; country comedian Minnie Pearl in 1912; actors Tony Franciosa in 1928 and Marion Ross in 1928 (age 79); basketball coach Bobby Knight in 1940 (age 67); author Anne Tyler and pop singer Helen Reddy, both in 1941 (age 66); and violinist Midori in 1971 (age 36).

On this date in history:

In 1825, the Erie Canal, America's first man-made waterway, was opened, linking the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River.

In 1854, known to history as the Charge of the Light Brigade, 670 British cavalrymen fighting in the Crimean War attacked a heavily fortified Russian position and were wiped out.

In 1881, Pablo Picasso, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, was born in Malaga, Spain.

In 1929, during the Teapot Dome scandal, Albert B. Fall, who served as U.S. President Warren G. Harding's interior secretary, was found guilty of accepting a bribe while in office, first individual convicted of a crime committed while a presidential cabinet member.

In 1971, the United Nations admitted China as a member, ousting the Nationalist Chinese government of Taiwan.

In 1983, U.S. troops, supported by six Caribbean nations, invaded the tiny, leftist-ruled island of Grenada. Nineteen Americans died in the fighting.

In 1986, the International Red Cross ousted South African delegates from a Geneva meeting because of Pretoria's policy of apartheid. It was the first such ejection in the organization's 123 years.

In 1993, Canadian voters rejected the Progressive Conservative party of Prime Minister Kim Campbell and gave the Liberal Party, led by Jean Chretien of Quebec, a firm majority in Parliament.

In 1994, Susan Smith reported to police in Union, S.C., that her two young boys had been taken in a carjacking. Nine days later, she confessed she had rolled her car into a lake, drowning the children.

In 2000, AT&T announced it would break itself into four separate businesses in a bid to renew investor support.

In 2001, the U.S. Senate, by a 90-1 vote, approved a final package of anti-terror reforms designed to help law enforcement monitor, observe and detain suspected terrorists.

In 2002, Democratic U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota and seven others were killed in the crash of a small plane near the Eveleth-Virginia Municipal Airport, about 180 miles northeast of Minneapolis.

In 2003, California wildfires, fueled by fierce Santa Ana winds, destroyed 60 homes near Los Angeles and threatened dense housing tracts.

In 2004, at least 78 Muslim detainees suffocated or were crushed to death in southern Thailand after the police rounded up 1,300 people and packed them into trucks following a riot.

Also in 2004, a top civilian at the U.S. Department of Defense Pentagon called for a federal investigation into how contracts in Iraq and the Balkans were awarded to the Halliburton company, formerly run by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.

In 2005, civil rights icon Rosa Parks died in Detroit at age 92. Parks, an African-American woman, gave new impetus to the rights movement when in 1955 she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Ala., bus.

Also in 2005, Iraq's draft constitution was reported approved by more than three-quarters of the voters in the Oct. 15 referendum.

In 2006, U.S. President George Bush said he would authorize higher troops levels in Iraq if U.S. generals ask for it.

Also in 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples "must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples."

A thought for the day: Pablo Picasso said, "I am only an entertainer who has understood his time."

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