The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Friday, Oct. 24, the 298th day of 2008 with 68 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 date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include pioneering Dutch microscope maker Anton Van Leeuwenhoek in 1632; journalist Sarah Josepha Hale, author of "Mary Had a Little Lamb," in 1788; attorney Belva Lockwood, the first woman candidate for U.S. president, nominated by the National Equal Rights Party, in 1830; film producer-director Merian Cooper (the original "King Kong") in 1893; former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman in 1936 (age 72); former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume in 1948 (age 60); actors David Nelson in 1936 (age 72), F. Murray Abraham in 1939 (age 69) and Kevin Kline in 1947 (age 61); and singer Monica (Arnold) in 1980 (age 28).


On this date in history:

In 1648, the Treaty of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years' War in Europe.

In 1861, the first telegram was transmitted across the United States from California Chief Justice Stephen Field to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in Washington.

In 1901, daredevil Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

In 1945, following Soviet ratification, U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes announced the U.N. charter was in effect. Establishment of the United Nations came less than two months after the end of World War II.

In 1984, the FBI arrested 11 alleged chiefs of the Colombo crime family on charges of racketeering in New York City.

In 1989, TV evangelist Jim Bakker was sentenced to 45 years in prison and fined $500,000 for fleecing his flock.

In 1993, the death of Burundi President Melchior Ndadaye in a military coup was confirmed.

In 1995, the United Nations marked its 50th anniversary with the largest gathering of world leaders in history.

In 2002, police arrested two suspects in the three-week series of sniper attacks in the Washington area that killed 10 and wounded three others. John Allen Muhammad, 41, and John Lee Malvo, 17, were found sleeping in a car at a rest stop outside Frederick, Md.


In 2003, an era in aviation history ended when the supersonic Concorde took off from New York to London on its final flight.

In 2004, a series of severe earthquakes in northern Japan killed 21 people and injured more than 1,500 others.

In 2005, Hurricane Wilma roared into Florida, packing 125 mph winds and lashing rain, inflicting heavy damage to beaches and buildings. Ten deaths were reported and some 2.5 million South Floridians were without power.

Also in 2005, U.S. President George Bush nominated Ben Bernanke, his chief economic adviser, to replace Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve Board chairman.

In 2006, a CNN poll said 60 percent of U.S. citizens contracted said they believed neither the United States nor insurgents were winning the war in Iraq.

Also in 2006, U.S. military leaders said Iraq's own security forces wouldn't be ready to assume responsibility for the country for 12-18 months.

In 2007, strong and gusty winds fanning 15 large wildfires in Southern California began to ease after 656 square miles and at least 1,155 homes had been charred.

Also in 2007, a new U.S. government report revealed the federal terrorist watch list had grown to include more than 755,000 names.


A thought for the day: Hindu nationalist leader Mohandas Gandhi said, "I believe that a man is the strongest soldier for daring to die unarmed."

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