The almanac

By United Press International  |  Oct. 11, 2010 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, Oct. 11, the 284th day of 2010 with 81 to follow.

This is observed as Columbus Day in the United States.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include clergyman Mason Locke Weems, who invented the story of George Washington and the cherry tree, in 1756; Englishman George Williams, founder of the YMCA, in 1821; food industry pioneer Henry John Heinz in 1844; former first lady and author Eleanor Roosevelt in 1884; choreographer Jerome Robbins in 1918; writer Elmore Leonard in 1925 (age 85); football Hall of Fame member LaVell Edwards in 1930 (age 80); country singer Dottie West in 1932; actor/singer Ron Leibman in 1937 (age 73); singer Daryl Hall in 1946 (age 64); sports columnist Thomas Boswell in 1947 (age 63); football Hall of Fame member Steve Young in 1961 (age 49); actors David Morse in 1953 (age 57), Joan Cusack in 1962 (age 48) and Luke Perry in 1965 (age 45); and golfer Michelle Wie in 1989 (age 21).

On this date in history:

In 1811, the first steam-powered ferry in the world started its run between New York City and Hoboken, N.J.

In 1868, Thomas Alva Edison filed papers for his first invention: an electrical vote recorder to rapidly tabulate floor votes in the U.S. Congress. Members of Congress rejected it.

In 1950, the Federal Communications Commission issued to CBS the first license to broadcast color television.

In 1962, Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

In 1975, "Saturday Night Live" premiered with George Carlin as host and musicians Janis Ian and Billy Preston on the bill.

In 1984, financier Marc Rich agreed to pay the U.S. government nearly $200 million, biggest tax fraud penalty in U.S. history.

Also in 1984, Kathryn Sullivan, flying into orbit abroad the space shuttle Challenger, becomes the first American woman to walk in space.

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution barring Iraq from pursuing atomic programs.

In 1993, armed demonstrators in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, prevented U.S. and Canadian troops from landing.

In 1994, the Pentagon reported that Iraqi troops were withdrawing from the Iraq-Kuwait border. Their deployment had brought the U.S. Navy and Marines to the Persian Gulf less than a week earlier.

Also in 1994, the Colorado Supreme Court struck down a law that barred local governments from enacting laws protecting homosexuals from discrimination in employment and housing.

In 1996, the Nobel Peace Prize went to Jose Ramos-Harta and Carlos Ximenes Belo, who worked for freedom for Timor-Leste, where famine and repression had killed one-third of the population.

In 2002, Congress gave U.S. President George W. Bush its backing for using military force against Iraq.

In 2004, actor Christopher Reeve, who played Superman in the movies and strenuously pushed spinal cord research after he was paralyzed in an accident, died at the age of 52.

Also in 2004, six men were charged in the bombing of a Philippines ferry in which more than 100 people died.

In 2005, desperate Pakistani earthquake survivors ambushed army trucks carrying relief supplies as the reported death toll in Pakistan and India topped 42,000.

Also in 2005, nine insurgent attacks killed at least 55 people in Iraq, including one suicide bomber who drove into a crowded market in Talafar.

In 2006, Cory Lidle, a 34-year-old right-handed pitcher for the New York Yankees, was killed when the light plane he was flying crashed into a 50-story residential building in New York.

In 2007, military reports said Taliban-affiliated fighters stepped up attacks on the Pakistani military near the Afghanistan border. The four-day death toll was put at 60 Pakistani soldiers and 200 militants.

Also in 2007, Dow Jones industrial average reached record of 14,198.10.

In 2008, the U.S. State Department removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. In return, North Korea agreed to give international inspectors access to its nuclear facilities and to continue disabling its plutonium processing project.

In 2009, three hostages and four Taliban militants died when Special Forces stormed Pakistani army headquarters to rescue 42 hostages.

Also in 2009, the U.S. recession sank at least two major Columbus Day parades, including the 119-year-old Baltimore event and the one in Philadelphia.

A thought for the day: in her diary, Anne Frank wrote: "If God lets me live, I shall attain more than Mummy ever has done. I shall not remain insignificant. I shall work in the world and for mankind!"

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