The almanac

By United Press International
Subscribe | UPI Odd Newsletter

Today is Saturday, Oct. 20, the 294th day of 2012 with 72 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 date are under the sign of Libra. They include English astronomer and architect Christopher Wren in 1632; French poet Arthur Rimbaud in 1854; James Robert Mann, Illinois congressman and author of the "White Slave Traffic Act," also known as the "Mann Act," in 1856; educator John Dewey in 1859; composer Charles Ives in 1874; actors Bela Lugosi ("Dracula") and Margaret Dumont, both in 1882; mystery writer Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay) in 1905; TV personality Arlene Francis in 1907; long-time Yankee Stadium announcer Bob Sheppard in 1910; country singer Grandpa (Louis Marshall) Jones in 1913; humorist Art Buchwald in 1925; baseball Hall of Fame members Mickey Mantle in 1931 and Juan Marichal in 1937 (age 75); actors William Christopher in 1932 (age 80), Jerry Orbach in 1935, Earl Hindman in 1942 and Viggo Mortensen in 1958 (age 54); poet Robert Pinsky in 1940 (age 72); writer Lewis Grizzard in 1946; rock 'n' roll Hall of Fame member Tom Petty in 1950 (age 62); film director Danny Boyle in 1956 (age 56); political commentator Michelle Malkin in 1970 (age 42); and rapper Snoop Dogg in 1971 (age 41).


On this date in history:

In 1818, the United States and Britain agreed to establish the 49th parallel as the official boundary between the United States and Canada.

In 1918, Germany accepted U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's terms to end World War I.

In 1944, U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur kept his promise to return to the Philippines Islands when he landed with U.S. forces during World War II.

In 1947, the U.S. House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee opened public hearings into alleged communist influence in Hollywood.

In 1973, during the Watergate scandal, U.S. President Richard Nixon fired two officials for refusing to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. The incident became known as the "Saturday Night Massacre."

Also in 1973, the landmark Sydney Opera House opened in Australia.

In 1977, members of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines, killed in plane crash.

In 1982, the world's worst soccer disaster occurred in Moscow when 340 fans were crushed to death in an open staircase during a game between Soviet and Dutch players.

In 1990, the rap group 2 Live Crew was acquitted in Miami of obscenity charges arising from a performance of selections from the album "As Nasty As They Wanna Be."


In 1992, one of Europe's leading environmentalists, Germany's Greens Party founder Petra Kelly, was found shot to death by her companion, Gert Bastian, who committed suicide.

In 1994, Hollywood heavyweight Burt Lancaster died at the age of 80.

In 2000, a former U.S. Army sergeant pleaded guilty to joining in a terrorist plot against the United States, linking Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden to the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

In 2004, Margaret Hassan, chief of operations for the British CARE charity, was kidnapped on her way to work in Iraq by armed militants. CARE suspended its work in Iraq soon after.

Also in 2004, retired Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was sworn in as Indonesia's sixth president after winning the country's first direct elections for head of state.

In 2005, former U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, was jailed in Houston after his indictment on conspiracy and money laundering charges.

Also in 2005, Pakistan set the official death toll of the Oct. 8 quake at 47,000 but various aid officials claim it was closer to 80,000. Three million people were reported without shelter.


In 2009, Afghan election officials ruled President Hamid Karzai had won 49.7 percent of the vote in his bid for another term, just less than the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.

Also in 2009, 57 percent of respondents to an ABC-Washington Post poll voiced support for a public option in the healthcare reform debate, one of its most contentious features.

In 2010, more than 1 million ballots in the Afghan parliamentary election were disqualified for fraud, electoral officials said two days after the vote.

Also in 2010, the U.S. Defense Department said homosexuals can openly enlist in the armed forces after a judge struck down the "don't ask, don't tell" law but warned a government appeal could change the situation again.

In 2011, deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi was killed as he tried to escape from his home town hideout in the coastal city of Sirte while transitional troops and NATO forces closed in. Ousted from power in a massive revolt two months earlier, Gaddafi, 69, had ruled Libya for 42 years.

Also in 2011, the Basque separatist group known as ETA, blamed for more than 820 deaths in its fight for independence in Spain and France, announced it was renouncing violence and would seek "a just democratic solution for the centuries-old political conflict."


A thought for the day: American Red Cross founder Clara Barton said, "The surest test of discipline is its absence."

Latest Headlines