The almanac

By United Press International  |  Oct. 3, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, Oct. 3, the 277th day of 2008 with 89 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include Cherokee Chief John Ross, who led opposition to the forced move of his people to what is now Oklahoma, in 1790; historian George Bancroft in 1800; novelists Thomas Wolfe in 1900 and Gore Vidal in 1925 (age 83); rock 'n' roll singer Chubby Checker in 1941 (age 67); singer/songwriter Lindsey Buckingham in 1947 (age 61); actor/singer Jack Wagner in 1959 (age 49); and actress Neve Campbell in 1973 (age 35).

On this date in history:

In 1922, Rebecca Felton, a Georgia Democrat, became the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.

In 1932, Iraq won its independence after Britain ended its mandate over the Arab nation following 17 years of British rule.

In 1952, Britain successfully tested its first atomic bomb.

In 1955, the children's TV show "Captain Kangaroo" with Bob Keeshan in the title role was broadcast for the first time.

In 1967, folksinger and songwriter Woody Guthrie died at the age of 55.

In 1972, U.S. President Richard Nixon and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko signed strategic arms limitation agreements, putting the first restrictions on the two countries' nuclear weapons.

In 1981, IRA prisoners at Maze Prison in Belfast, Northern Ireland, ended a seven-month hunger strike in which 10 men died.

In 1989, troops loyal to Panamanian military leader Manuel Noriega crushed a coup attempt by rebel mid-level officers. Noriega was held briefly by coup plotters but escaped unharmed.

In 1990, formerly communist East Germany merged with West Germany, ending 45 years of post-war division.

In 1992, William Gates III, the college-dropout founder of Microsoft Corp., headed the Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest Americans with a net worth of $6.3 billion.

In 1993, fighting erupted in the streets of Moscow between pro- and anti-Yeltsin forces. Sixty-two people died in the violence that ended two days later when the rebel vice president and speaker of parliament surrendered.

In 1995, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of charges that he killed his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.

Also in 1995, a bomb nearly killed the president of Macedonia, a relatively peaceful part of the former Yugoslavia.

In 2001, amid rising concerns about the use of lethal substances by terrorists, the U.S. government said it was planning to stockpile 40 million doses of smallpox vaccine.

In 2002, fear escalated in the Washington area as five people were killed over a 16-hour period in apparent random sniper shootings.

In 2005, Harriet Miers, the White House counsel, was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by U.S. President George Bush to succeed the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor. Meanwhile, the high court opened a new term with a new chief justice, John Roberts.

Also in 2005, a Texas grand jury indicted U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, the former House of Representatives majority leader, for money laundering. The new indictment was aimed at correcting problems with an earlier charge against him.

And, in 2005, U.N. monitors said Afghanistan's parliamentary elections were marred by significant fraud and voter intimidation.

In 2006, a hijacked Turkish Airlines jetliner with 113 aboard landed safely in Brindisi, Italy, after Italian military jets escorted it down. The Italian civil aviation agency said the two alleged hijackers were unarmed and only wanted to get a message to Pope Benedict XVI.

In 2007, U.S. President George Bush vetoed a bill that would have increased funding of the State Children's Health Insurance Program to provide health coverage to more than 10 million children. Bush said the proposal was a move toward universal healthcare, which he opposes.

Also in 2007, more than 3,000 miners were trapped underground in a South African gold mine after power was cut accidentally to an elevator used to take them to the surface. There were no injuries reported but rescue took hours since the only elevator working could haul just 300 workers to the surface every 30 minutes.

A thought for the day: American poet Emily Dickinson wrote,

"Behold this little Bane –

"The Boon of all alive –

"As common as it is known

"The name of it is Love."

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