The almanac

United Press International

Today is Saturday, Oct. 8, the 281st day of 2011 with 84 to follow.

This is Yom Kippur.


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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include musician

Dick Burnett in 1883; World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker in 1890; Argentine dictator Juan Peron in 1895; gossip columnist Rona Barrett in 1936 (age 75); tennis Hall of Fame member Fred Stolle in 1938 (age 73); civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1941 (age 70); "Goosebumps" author R.L. Stine in 1943 (age 68); rock musicians Johnny Ramone in 1948 and C-Jay Ramone in 1965 (age 46); political commentator Steve Coll in 1958 (age 53); Olympic gold medal swimmer Matt Biondi in 1965 (age 46); and actors Paul Hogan in 1939 (age 72), Chevy Chase in 1943 (age 68), Sigourney Weaver in 1949 (age 62), Darrell Hammond in 1955 (age 56); Stephanie Zimbalist in 1956 (age 55), Matt Damon in 1970 (age 41) and Nick Cannon in 1980 (age 31).


On this date in history:

In 1871, the massive Chicago fire destroyed more than 17,000 buildings, killed more than 300 people and left 90,000 homeless.

Also in 1871, on the same day, a forest fire broke out at Peshtigo, Wis., eventually killing about 1,100 people while burning some 850 square miles.

In 1918, Sgt. Alvin York of Tennessee became a World War I hero by single-handedly capturing a hill in the Argonne Forest of France, killing 20 enemy soldiers and capturing 132 others.

In 1919, The U.S. Congress passed the Volstead Act, prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Also in 1919, the first U.S. transcontinental air race began with 63 planes competing in the round-trip aerial derby between California and New York. Each way took about three days.

In 1967, Argentinean-born Communist revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, an important figure in the 1959 Cuban revolution, was killed while leading a guerrilla war in Bolivia.

In 1990, at least 17 Muslims were killed by Israeli police in rioting on the Temple Mount, the third holiest site in Islam.

In 1991, a U.S. federal judge in Anchorage, Alaska, approved a $1 billion settlement against Exxon for the Valdez oil spill.


In 1993, the U.S. Justice Department, in its report on the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, concluded the cult had caused the fire that destroyed the compound, killing at least 75 people.

In 1997, three years after the death of longtime North Korean ruler Kim Il Sung, his son, Kim Jong Il, officially inherited his father's title of general secretary of the Communist Party.

In 1998, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 258-176 to begin impeachment hearings against U.S. President Bill Clinton.

In 2001, U.S. transport planes dropped 37,000 meals into areas of Afghanistan where mass starvation was feared imminent.

Also in 2001, the United Nations and Secretary-General Kofi Annan shared the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 2003, some $19 billion in peach-colored, redesigned $20 bills made their official debut across the United States.

Also in 2003, researchers found the remains of a synagogue dating from the fifth or sixth century in the Albanian coastal city of Saranda.

In 2004, for the first time the Nobel Peace Prize went to an African woman, Dr. Wangari Maathai, an environmental activist from Kenya.


In 2005, a death toll close to 40,000 was reported in India and Pakistan after an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck the area.

Also in 2005, Tropical Storm Stan killed more than 500 people in Guatemala.

In 2007, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that half of the 5,000 British troops stationed in Iraq would be removed by the end of 2008.

In 2008, a Nepal Yeti Airlines plane, carrying a dozen German tourists and others on a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, crashed near Mount Everest, killing 18 people. One crewman survived.

In 2009, Typhoon Melor accompanied by heavy rains smashed into Japan in the latest weather disaster to strike the Asia-Pacific region. The area had been hit in recent days by tsunamis, earthquakes, typhoons and massive flooding.

In 2010, former U.S. Marines Gen. James Jones, U.S. President Obama's national security adviser, announced his planned resignation earlier than expected, reportedly because of statements made to the media about Obama's policies on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Jones was replaced by his deputy, Thomas Donilon.

A thought for the day: French actor Sarah Bernhardt said, "Permanent success cannot be achieved except by incessant intellectual labor, always inspired by the ideal."


Latest Headlines