Today is Friday, Oct. 30, the 303rd day of 2009 with 62 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 Scorpio. They include John Adams, second president of the United States, in 1735; French Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley in 1839; French poet Paul Valery in 1871; poet Ezra Pound in 1885; strongman Charles Atlas in 1893; actress Ruth Gordon in 1896; film director Louis Malle in 1932; rock singer Grace Slick in 1939 (age 70); actor/director Henry Winkler in 1945 (age 64); news correspondent Andrea Mitchell in 1946 (age 63); and actor Harry Hamlin in 1951 (age 58).
On this date in history:
In 1817, Simon Bolivar established the independent government of Venezuela.
In 1938, Orson Welles triggered a national panic with a realistic radio dramatization of a Martian invasion, based on H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds."
In 1941, more than a month before the United States entered World War II, a U.S. destroyer, the Reuben James, was sunk by a German submarine.
In 1975, as dictator Francisco Franco was near death, Prince Juan Carlos assumed power in Spain.
In 1983, the Rev. Jesse Jackson announced plans to become the first African-American to mount a full-scale campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in the United States.
In 1991, the Middle East peace conference convened in Madrid with participants including Israel, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestinians from the Israeli-occupied territories.
In 1993, the U.N. Security Council condemned Haiti's military leaders for preventing the return of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
In 1995, by a narrow margin, Quebec voters decided to remain a part of Canada.
In 2003, the death toll in the Southern California wildfire outbreak was set at 20 with 2,605 homes destroyed and 657,000 acres charred.
In 2004, Yasser Arafat's closest aides said the 75-year-old, long-time Palestinian leader had lost control of his mental faculties and couldn't communicate clearly. Arafat was flown to Paris for treatment of what was believed to be an acute blood disorder.
In 2005, Indian authorities sent army divers to look for people trapped in a derailed train near Veligonda, the result of massive flooding. Officials said 112 died in the train wreck while another 100 perished in the flood.
Also in 2005, an obscure radical Islamic group in India claimed responsibility for the bombings at two crowded New Delhi markets and on a bus that killed more than 60 people and injured close to 200.
In 2006, Pakistan hit an Islamic school near the Afghan border, killing at least 80 suspected militants.
In 2007, Iraqi rebuilding has fallen far short of goals, despite expenditures of more than $100 billion, a report from the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction said.
In 2008, the U.S. gross domestic product has dropped 0.3 percent, government officials say. It's the first decrease in the GDP in 17 years.
Also in 2008, nine explosions ripped through crowded places in four towns in northern India, killing at least 39 people and wounding more than 100, police said.
And, the U.S. Department of Justice approved a $28.1 billion merger of Verizon Wireless and Alltel Corp. that would result in the nation's largest wireless company.
A thought for the day: in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams said, "You and I ought not to die before we have explained ourselves to each other." The two former presidents and political rivals both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.