The almanac

By United Press International  |  Oct. 22, 2009 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, Oct. 22, the 295th day of 2009 with 70 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include Hungarian composer Franz Liszt in 1811; actresses Sarah Bernhardt in 1844 and Joan Fontaine in 1917 (age 92); comic actor Curly Howard of "The Three Stooges" in 1903; English author Doris Lessing, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for literature, in 1919 (age 90); psychologist and LSD advocate Timothy Leary in 1920; artist Robert Rauschenberg in 1925; actors Derek Jacobi and Christopher Lloyd, both in 1938 (age 71), Annette Funicello in 1942 (age 67), Catherine Deneuve in 1943 (age 66) and Jeff Goldblum in 1952 (age 57); and champion skater Brian Boitano in 1963 (age 46).

On this date in history:

In 1797, the first parachute jump was made by Andre-Jacques Garnerin, who dropped from a height of about 6,500 feet over a Paris park.

In 1836, Gen. Sam Houston was sworn in as the first president of the Republic of Texas.

In 1938, inventor Charles Carlson produced the first dry, or xerographic, copy, but had trouble attracting investors.

In 1962, U.S. President John Kennedy announced that Soviet missiles had been deployed in Cuba and ordered a blockade of the island.

In 1966, The Supremes became the first all-female group to score a No. 1 album, with "Supremes a Go-Go."

In 1978, Pope John Paul II was installed as pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1990, saying it would lead to a quota system.

In 1991, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir warned that Israel would refuse to negotiate with any Palestinians who claimed alliance to the PLO.

In 1992, pioneer sportscaster Red Barber died at age 84.

In 2001, anthrax spores were found in a mail-opening machine serving the White House. Preliminary tests on 120 workers who sort mail for the executive mansion were negative.

Also in 2001, the Pentagon announced nearly 200 U.S. jets struck Taliban and al-Qaida communications facilities, barracks and training camps and disputed Taliban claims that 100 civilians died when a bomb hit a hospital in western Afghanistan.

And in 2001, an estimated 500 people were killed when the Nigerian army attacked villages throughout the eastern state of Benue.

In 2003, a poll indicated 59 percent of Palestinians wanted attacks against Israel to continue even if Israel leaves the West Bank and Gaza.

Also in 2004, rescuers confirmed 64 dead following an explosion in a central China coal mine. Eighty-four miners were missing in the toxic gas-filled shaft.

In 2005, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai ordered an investigation into the reported desecration of bodies by U.S. troops said to be captured on tape by a TV crew.

In 2007, U.S. President George Bush formally asked Congress for $46 billion in emergency funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. That's in addition to the nearly $145 billion in his original budget for next year.

In 2008, Mexican officials say federal army troops have arrived at Rosarito Beach in Baja California to battle a relentless wave of drug gang slayings in the state's border towns. Police estimated at least 140 killings in and around Tijuana since Sept. 26.

A thought for the day: of the existence of God, Clarence Darrow said, "I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure -- that is all that agnosticism means."

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