The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Saturday, Oct. 11, the 285th day of 2008 with 81 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include clergyman Mason Locke Weems, who invented the story of George Washington and the cherry tree, in 1756; Englishman George Williams, founder of the YMCA, in 1821; food industry pioneer Henry John Heinz in 1844; former first lady and author Eleanor Roosevelt in 1884; choreographer Jerome Robbins in 1918; country singer Dottie West in 1932; actor/singer Ron Leibman in 1937 (age 71); singer Daryl Hall in 1946 (age 62); and actors David Morse in 1953 (age 55), Joan Cusack in 1962 (age 46) and Luke Perry in 1965 (age 43).


On this date in history:

In 1811, the first steam-powered ferry in the world started its run between New York City and Hoboken, N.J.

In 1868, Thomas Alva Edison filed papers for his first invention: an electrical vote recorder to rapidly tabulate floor votes in the U.S. Congress. Members of Congress rejected it.

In 1950, the Federal Communications Commission issued to CBS the first license to broadcast color television.

In 1962, Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

In 1984, financier Marc Rich agreed to pay the U.S. government nearly $200 million, biggest tax fraud penalty in U.S. history.

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution barring Iraq from pursuing atomic programs.

In 1993, armed demonstrators in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, prevented U.S and Canadian troops from landing.

In 1994, the Pentagon reported that Iraqi troops were withdrawing from the Iraq-Kuwait border. Their deployment had brought the U.S. Navy and Marines to the Persian Gulf less than a week earlier.

Also in 1994, the Colorado Supreme Court struck down a law that barred local governments from enacting laws protecting homosexuals from discrimination in employment and housing.

In 1996, the Nobel Peace Prize went to Jose Ramos-Harta and Carlos Ximenes Belo, who worked for freedom for Timor-Leste, where famine and repression had killed one-third of the entire population.


In 2002, Congress gave U.S. President George W. Bush its backing for using military force against Iraq.

In 2003, officials in India arrested more than 1,500 Hindu activists in an effort to ward off violence during a protest planned later this week.

In 2004, actor Christopher Reeve, who played Superman in the movies and strenuously pushed spinal cord research after he was paralyzed in an accident, died at the age of 52.

Also in 2004, six men were charged in the bombing of a Philippines ferry in which more than 100 people died.

In 2005, desperate Pakistani earthquake survivors ambushed army trucks carrying relief supplies as the reported death toll in Pakistan and India topped 42,000. An Islamic Relief spokesman predicted the number eventually would reach 80,000.

Also in 2005, nine insurgent attacks killed at least 55 people in Iraq, including one suicide bomber who drove into a crowded market in Talafar.

In 2006, as many as 655,000 Iraqis reportedly had died since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, a study by Iraqi and U.S. researchers said. U.S. President George Bush, who figured the civilian death toll was far less, discounted the report.

Also in 2006, Cory Lidle, a 34-year-old right-handed pitcher for the New York Yankees, was killed when the light plane he was flying crashed into a 50-story residential building in New York.


In 2007, a Jordanian group of Islamic scholars appealed directly to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders to help smooth out conflicts between Muslims and Christians.

Also in 2007, military reports said Taliban-affiliated fighters stepped up attacks on the Pakistani military near the Afghanistan border. The four-day death toll was put at 60 Pakistani soldiers and 200 militants.

A thought for the day: in her diary, Anne Frank wrote: "If God lets me live, I shall attain more than Mummy ever has done. I shall not remain insignificant. I shall work in the world and for mankind!"

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