The almanac

By United Press International  |  Oct. 18, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, Oct. 18, the 292nd day of 2012 with 74 to follow.

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

Those born on this day are under the sign of Libra. They include French philosopher Henri Bergson in 1859; novelist Fannie Hurst in 1889; singer/actor Lotte Lenya in 1898; former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and singer Anita O'Day, both in 1919; former Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, in 1921; Greek actor Melina Mercouri in 1920; rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry in 1926 (age 87); sports broadcasting legend Keith Jackson in 1928 (age 84); actors George C. Scott in 1927, Inger Stevens in 1934, Peter Boyle in 1935 and Dawn Wells in 1938 (age 74); Lee Harvey Oswald, assumed assassin of President John F. Kennedy, in 1939; football Hall of Fame member Mike Ditka in 1939 (age 73); singer-songwriter Laura Nyro in 1947; actors Joe Morton in 1947 (age 65) and Pam Dawber in 1951 (age 61); playwright Wendy Wasserstein in 1950; writer Terry McMillan in 1951 (age 61); tennis Hall of Fame member Martina Navratilova in 1956 (age 56); musician Wynton Marsalis in 1961 (age 51); actors Jean-Claude Van Damme and Erin Moran, both in 1960 (age 52); recording artist Ne-Yo, born Shaffer Chimere Smith, in 1979 (age 33); Olympic gold medal-winner skier Lindsey Vonn in 1984 (age 28); actor Zac Efron in 1987 (age 25); and television personality Bristol Palin in 1990 (age 22).

On this day in history:

In 1776, the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania was settled. Dubbed the "Mason-Dixon" line, it became the unofficial boundary between North and South.

In 1851, "Moby-Dick" by Herman Melville was published.

In 1898, the United States took control of Puerto Rico one year after Spain had granted self-rule to the Caribbean nation.

In 1922, the British Broadcasting Corp. was established.

In 1925, Grand Ole Opry opened in Nashville.

In 1931, Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most prolific inventors in history, died in West Orange, N.J., at the age of 84.

In 1959, the Soviet Union announced an unmanned space vehicle had taken the first pictures of the far side of the moon.

In 1974, the jury in the Watergate coverup trial heard a tape recording in which U.S. President Richard Nixon told aide John Dean to try to stop the Watergate burglary investigation before it implicated White House personnel.

In 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan ordered an investigation of a CIA handbook for Nicaraguan rebels that suggested assassination as a political tactic.

In 1991, Israel and the Soviet Union agreed to renew full diplomatic relations for the first time since 1967.

In 1992, numerous civilians were killed or wounded when Serbian forces unleashed a citywide artillery barrage on Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In 2002, North Korea revealed it was working on a secret nuclear weapons program and U.S. intelligence officials concluded that Pakistan was a major supplier of critical equipment for it.

In 2004, exhumation orders were issued for 42 bodies in Sonthofen, Germany, where a hospital orderly admitted to giving lethal injections to 16 patients.

In 2007, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned home after eight years in exile to triumphant fanfare that gave way to panic when a suicide bomber killed a reported 139 people in her convoy. She wasn't hurt.

In 2009, a suicide bomber struck a meeting of Iranian Shiites and Sunnis in Sabaaz, killing at least 42 people, including six senior officers of the elite Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Also in 2009, the African Union gave its backing to a call for an arms embargo on Guinea for the alleged slaying of 157 political prisoners.

In 2010, a federal jury in New York convicted four men of plotting to bomb a synagogue and Jewish community center and shoot down U.S. military aircraft.

Also in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI canonized six new saints, including the first from Canada and Australia.

In 2011, Gilad Shalit, the 25-year-old Israeli soldier kidnapped by the militant Palestinian group Hamas in a high-profile incident, was released after being held for more than five years. His release came in exchange for 1,000 Palestinians who had spent years in Israeli jails.

A thought for the day: French author George Sand (Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin) said, "Simplicity is the essence of the great, the true and the beautiful in art."

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