The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Sunday, Oct. 26, the 300th day of 2008 with 66 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 Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky in 1879; gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in 1911; bandleader Charlie Barnet in 1913; French President Francois Mitterrand in 1916; Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last shah of Iran, in 1919; actor Bob Hoskins in 1942 (age 66); author Pat Conroy in 1945 (age 63); TV personality Pat Sajak in 1946 (age 62); U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., wife of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, in 1947 (age 61); and actors Jaclyn Smith in 1945 (age 63) and Cary Elwes and Dylan McDermott, both in 1962 (age 46); and singer Natalie Merchant in 1963 (age 45).


On this date in history:

In 1906, workers in St. Petersburg set up the first Russian "soviet," or council.

In 1920, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Ireland, Terence McSwiney, died after a 2 1/2-month hunger strike in a British prison cell, demanding independence for Ireland.

In 1942, Japanese warships sank the aircraft carrier USS Hornet off the Solomon Islands.

In 1944, after four days of furious fighting, the World War II battle of Leyte Gulf, largest air-naval clash in history, ended with a decisive U.S. victory over the Japanese.

In 1965, The Beatles were presented Member of the Order of the British Empire medals by Queen Elizabeth.

In 1979, South Korean President Park Chung-hee was reported assassinated by the director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.

In 1984, Dr. Leonard L. Bailey performed the first baboon-to-human heart transplant, replacing a 14-day-old infant girl's defective heart with a healthy, walnut-sized heart of a young baboon at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.

In 1990, District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry was sentenced to six months in prison and fined $5,000 for his conviction on misdemeanor drug charges.

In 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty at a desert site along the Israeli-Jordanian border.


In 1995, Islamic Jihad leader Fathi ash-Shiqaqi was assassinated in Malta.

In 1998, one day before threatened NATO airstrikes were to begin, Serbian soldiers and police began what was said to be a significant pullback from positions in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, where they reportedly were massacring ethnic Albanians.

Also in 1998, the presidents of Ecuador and Peru signed a peace treaty, ending a decades-long border dispute.

In 2001, six weeks after the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, U.S. President George Bush signed into law a tough new measure giving law enforcement agencies expanded authority in their battle against terrorism.

In 2002, Moscow's four-day hostage crisis came to a bloody end when Russian soldiers stormed a theater where Chechen rebels had held 700 people for ransom. Ninety hostages and 50 rebels were killed.

In 2003, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz escaped a rocket attack on a heavily guarded Baghdad hotel.

In 2004, a U.N. investigation into Iraq's oil-for-food program reportedly turned up names of several prominent politicians in France, Russia and elsewhere said to have received illegal Iraqi oil from Saddam Hussein.

In 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ignited international outrage when he said Israel should be wiped off the map.


In 2006, U.S. President George Bush signed a bill authorizing construction of nearly 700 miles of fencing on the U.S. border with Mexico to better control illegal immigration.

Also in 2006, Nicaragua's National Assembly voted unanimously to ban all abortions.

In 2007, Iraqi and U.S. military commanders reported terror attacks in Baghdad were down 77 percent since a major security push began in February.

A thought for the day: English writer William Hazlitt said, "Men of genius do not excel in any profession because their labor in it, but they labor in it because they excel."

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