The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Friday, Oct. 16, the 289th day of 2009 with 76 to follow.

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


Those born on this day are under the sign of Libra. They include lexicographer Noah Webster in 1758; Irish author and dramatist Oscar Wilde in 1854; David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, in 1886; playwright Eugene O'Neill in 1888; Irish revolutionist Michael Collins in 1890; Supreme Court Justice William Orville Douglas in 1898; German novelist Gunter Grass in 1927 (age 82); actor Barry Corbin in 1940 (age 69); actresses Linda Darnell in 1923; Angela Lansbury in 1925 (age 84) and Suzanne Somers in 1946 (age 63); Grateful Dead co-founder Bob Weir in 1947 (age 62); actor Tim Robbins in 1958 (age 51); and actress Kellie Martin in 1975 (age 34).


On this date in history:

In 1701, Yale University was founded.

In 1793, French Queen Marie Antoinette was beheaded.

In 1859, abolitionist John Brown led a raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Va. He was convicted of treason and hanged.

In 1868, America's first department store, ZCMI, opened in Salt Lake City.

In 1916, the nation's first birth control clinic was opened in New York by Margaret Sanger and two other women.

In 1946, at Nuremberg, Germany, 10 high-ranking Nazi officials were executed by hanging for World War II war crimes. Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and chief of the German air force, was to have been among them but he committed suicide in his cell the night before.

In 1964, China detonated its first atomic bomb.

In 1972, a light plane carrying House Democratic leader Hale Boggs of Louisiana and three other men was reported missing in Alaska. The plane was never found.

In 1984, black Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa won the Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle against apartheid.

In 1991, George Hennard killed 22 people and then took his own life after driving his pickup truck through the front window of Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas.


In 1998, Protestant David Trimble and Roman Catholic John Hume, both political leaders in Northern Ireland, were named winners of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize for their work toward bringing peace to Ulster.

In 2002, U.S. President George Bush signed into law the joint congressional resolution authorizing him to use military force if necessary to rid Iraq of its suspected weapons of mass destruction.

In 2003, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution endorsing a U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq.

In 2004, the World Health Organization said smoke from home stoves and fires in developing countries had become a major cause of death and disease.

Also in 2004, in a letter to fans on her Web site, homemaking guru Martha Stewart assured all she was adjusting to life in a West Virginia federal prison which she described as "like an old-fashioned college campus -- without the freedom, of course."

In 2005, Louisiana state officials were investigating the possibility of euthanasia in 215 deaths at 19 New Orleans hospitals and nursing homes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In 2006, U.S. intelligence officials confirmed an underground explosion in North Korea a week before was the test of a nuclear device. The explosive yield was reported less than 1 kiloton of conventional explosives.


In 2007, Iraqi officials said their investigation of the killing of Iraqi citizens by Blackwater USA, a private security firm under contract to the U.S. State Department indicates the shootings were unprovoked.

In 2008, the latest Gallup poll gave Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama a 6-percentage-point nationwide lead over Republican nominee John McCain with less than a month before the election.

Also in 2008, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus was reported developing an assessment for strategy for Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and surrounding regions. The assessment will aim toward a new campaign plan for the Middle East and Central Asia, where Petraeus will oversee military operations.

A thought for the day: Irish author and dramatist Oscar Wilde's dying words were said to have been, "This wallpaper is killing me; one of us has got to go."

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