The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Wednesday, Oct. 12, the 285th day of 2011 with 80 to follow.

The moon is full. 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 Elmer Sperry, who devised practical uses for the gyroscope, in 1860; English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1872; baseball Hall of Fame member Joe Cronin in 1906; comedian and activist Dick Gregory in 1932 (age 79); opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti in 1935; Temptations singing group member Melvin Franklin in 1942; TV correspondent Chris Wallace in 1947 (age 64); singer/actor Susan Anton in 1950 (age 61); actors Hugh Jackman and Adam Rich, both in 1968 (age 43) and Kirk Cameron in 1970 (age 41); track star Marion Jones in 1975 (age 36); and Olympic gold medal winning skier Bode Miller in 1977 (age 34).


On this date in history:

In 1492, Christopher Columbus reached America, making his first landing in the New World on one of the Bahamas Islands. Columbus believed he had reached India.

In 1899, the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State in southern Africa declared war on the British. The Boer War was ended May 31, 1902, by the Treaty of Vereeniging.

In 1915, British nurse Edith Cavell, 49, was executed by a German firing squad in Brussels for helping Allied soldiers escape from Belgium in World War I.

In 1960, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev removed one of his shoes and pounded it on his desk during a speech before the United Nations.

In 1964, the Soviet Union launched Voskhod 1 into orbit around Earth, with three cosmonauts aboard. It was the first spacecraft to carry a multi-person crew and the two-day mission was also the first flight performed without space suits.

In 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon nominated U.S. House Minority Leader Gerald Ford, R-Mich., for the vice presidency to replace Spiro Agnew, who had resigned two days earlier.

In 1979, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" was published by Douglas Adams.


In 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher escaped injury in the bombing of a hotel in Brighton, England. Four people were killed in the attack, blamed on the Irish Republican Army.

In 1992, more than 500 people were killed and thousands injured when an earthquake rocked Cairo, Egypt.

In 1998, University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard died five days after the 21-year-old gay man was beaten, robbed and left tied to a fence.

In 1999, the elected government of Pakistan was overthrown in an apparently bloodless military coup. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and several other leaders were arrested.

In 2000, 17 sailors were killed when an explosion rocked the USS Cole as it refueled in Yemen. U.S. President Bill Clinton blamed the attack on al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

In 2002, a bomb exploded near two crowded night clubs on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people.

Also in 2002, the terror continued for Washington-area residents as the weeklong death toll from a mysterious sniper reached eight.

In 2005, newly released documents charged that the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles allegedly shielded priests accused of sexual abuse by moving them from one parish to another.


In 2007, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to publicize a man-made climate change and explain how to counteract it.

In 2008, the 15 countries of the eurozone agreed on an emergency deal to guarantee financial debt for five years and to take a direct stake in banks if needed.

In 2009, two explosions in Pakistan killed at least 69 people and injured scores of others in the latest in a string of attacks in the country.

Also in 2009, the death toll from landslides and floods caused by Philippines typhoons Ketsana and Parma reached 600 and officials expected it to climb further.

In 2010, a U.S. district judge in California ordered the U.S. government to stop enforcing the "don't ask, don't tell" law, which forbids homosexuals from serving openly in the U.S. military. The order was held up, however, pending a government appeal.

Also in 2010, the U.S. government lifted the ban on deep-water oil and natural gas drilling for companies that obey stricter rules aimed at avoiding a repeat of the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


And, a collision between a train and a bus in central Ukraine killed at least 40 people and injured a dozen others.

A thought for the day: Chinese educator, writer and diplomat Tehyi Hsieh said, "The key to success isn't much good until one discovers the right lock to insert it in."

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