The almanac

United Press International

Today is Friday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2011 with 71 to follow.

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


Those born this date are under the sign of Libra. They include English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1772; Swedish chemist and industrialist Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and founder of the Nobel Prize, in 1833; dancer/choreographer Ted Shawn in 1891; conductor Georg Solti in 1912; mathematician Martin Gardner in 1914; jazz trumpeter John "Dizzy" Gillespie, in 1917; baseball Hall of Fame member Whitey Ford in 1928 (age 83); author Ursula K. Le Guin in 1929 (age 82); rock musician Manfred Mann in 1940 (age 71); Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in 1949 (age 62); and actor-author Carrie Fisher in 1956 (age 55); actor Ken Watanabe in 1959 (age 52); and socialite Kim Kardashian in 1980 (age 31).

On this date in history:

In 1805, in one of history's greatest naval battles, the British fleet under Adm. Horatio Nelson defeated the combined French-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar off the coast of Spain.

In 1879, after 14 months of experiments, Thomas Edison invented the first practical electric incandescent lamp.

In 1908, The Saturday Evening Post magazine carried an ad for a brand new product: a two-sided phonograph record.

In 1950, Chinese troops occupied Tibet.

In 1959, rocket designer Wernher von Braun and his team were transferred from the U.S. Army to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

In 1987, the U.S. Senate rejected U.S. President Ronald Reagan's nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court by the biggest margin in history, 58-42.

In 1990, gunmen stormed the home of a key supporter of Lebanese Christian military leader Michel Aoun, killing him, his wife and their two sons.

In 1991, Beirut University professor Jesse Turner, a hostage since January 1987, was released by his captors in Lebanon.

In 1992, New York protesters upset with Sinead O'Connor for ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II on "Saturday Night Live," used a steamroller to crush dozens of the Irish singer's CDs, records and tapes.

In 1994, Rosario Ames, wife of confessed spy Aldrich Ames, was sentenced to 63 months in prison for collaborating with him.

In 1996, the Dow Jones industrial average of 30 major stocks topped the 6,000 mark for the first time.

In 2004, the most senior soldier accused in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal in Iraq, Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

In 2007, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, in one of the strongest warnings from Washington on the matter, said, "We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."

In 2008, Saudi Arabian officials said they indicted nearly 1,000 suspected militants, saying the country was a target for an organized terror campaign.

In 2009, the Obama administration ordered pay cuts for top-paid employees at companies that received the most federal stimulus money, in some cases a reported 50 percent reduction in compensation.

In 2010, a U.S. government report indicated that the mortgage-financing enterprises known as Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac, already recipients of $148 billion in federal bailout funds, might need $200 billion more to stay solvent through 2013.

Also in 2010, the British government, facing big budget deficits, announced spending cutbacks of about $130 billion over a four-year period.

A thought for the day: Italian goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini wrote in his autobiography, "One can pass on responsibility, but not the discretion that goes with it."

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