The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Friday, Oct. 17, the 291st day of 2008 with 75 to follow.

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


Those born on this day are under the sign of Libra. They include Jupiter Hammon, America's first published black poet, in 1711; actress Irene Ryan in 1902; big band trombonist and wide-eyed comic Jerry Colonna, best remembered as a featured comedian on Bob Hope shows, in 1905; playwright Arthur Miller in 1915; actress Rita Hayworth in 1918; actor Tom Poston in 1921; actor Montgomery Clift in 1920; newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin in 1930 (age 78); daredevil Robert "Evel" Knievel in 1938; actors Michael McKean in 1947 (age 61) and Margot Kidder and George Wendt, both in 1948 (age 60); former astronaut Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, in 1956 (age 52); and rapper Eminem in 1972 (age 36).


On this date in history:

In 1777, at one of the turning points of the American Revolution, British Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered to American Gen. Horatio Gates at Saratoga, N.Y.

In 1945, Juan Peron became dictator of Argentina. He remained in power for 11 years before being overthrown.

In 1973, the Arab-dominated Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it would cut oil exports to the United States and other nations that provided military aid to Israel in the Yom Kippur War of October 1973. A full oil embargo hit the United States in December causing a serious energy crisis.

In 1979, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a Roman Catholic nun who cared for the sick and poor, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1986, Congress passed a landmark immigration bill, the first U.S. law authorizing penalties for employers who hire illegal aliens.

In 1989, the most powerful California earthquake since the legendary temblor of 1906 struck the San Francisco Bay Area at evening rush hour, just before the scheduled start of Game Three of the World Series in San Francisco between the Giants and the Oakland A's. At least 67 people were killed.


In 1990, U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar said military force would be a legitimate response to the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait if sanctions did not work.

In 1994, North Korea agreed to freeze its nuclear weapons program and allow international inspections of its facilities.

In 1996, O.J. Simpson, who had been acquitted in a highly publicized trial of killing his estranged wife and her friend, went on trial in civil court in a suit brought by the victims' families and accusing him of responsibility for the deaths.

In 1998, by request of Spanish authorities, British police arrested former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet for questioning about "crimes of genocide and terrorism that include murder."

In 2001 the anthrax scare continued as the U.S. Congress began closing down for security sweeps after 321 staff members and police tested positive for exposure to anthrax.

In 2003, the U.S. hostile fire death toll in the Iraqi war reached 100 since U.S. President George Bush announced the end of major combat in May.

In 2004, Brazil authorized its air force to shoot down planes suspected of smuggling drugs.

In 2005, General Motors estimated it would save about $1 billion a year under an agreement with the United Auto Workers Union to cut annual health benefits for workers and retirees.


Also in 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a government demand for $280 billion in penalties from American cigarette makers.

In 2006, North Korea termed U.N. sanctions to punish it for its recent nuclear test a declaration of war. Reports meanwhile said there was evidence a second nuclear test was planned.

In 2007, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Israel did not intend to split Jerusalem, a matter often brought up during Palestinian peace talks. But, the minister in charge of strategic affairs said he did not believe Israel needed to retain control over certain parts of the city if future peace agreements call for such an arrangement.

A thought for the day: Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, "With love one can live even without happiness."

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