The almanac

United Press International

Today is Wednesday, Oct. 23, the 296th day of 2013 with 69 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include Adlai E. Stevenson, U.S. vice president under Grover Cleveland (1893-97), in 1835; pioneering college football Coach John Heisman, for whom the Heisman Trophy is named; in 1869; William Coolidge, inventor of the X-ray tube, in 1873; vaudevillian Milton "Gummo" Marx in 1892; golf Hall of Fame member Harvey Penick in 1904; Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel, in 1905; former "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson in 1925; pro golfer Juan "Chi Chi" Rodriguez in 1935 (age 78); Brazilian soccer star Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento) in 1940 (age 73); author Michael Crichton in 1942; filmmaker Ang Lee in 1954 (age 59); singers Dwight Yoakam in 1956 (age 57) and "Weird Al" Yankovic in 1959 (age 54); television talk show host Nancy Grace, also in 1959 (age 54); former football stars Doug Flutie and Mike Tomczak, both in 1962 (age 51); actor Ryan Reynolds in 1976 (age 37) and political activist Meghan McCain in 1984 (age 29).

On this date in history:

In 1707, the British Parliament met for the first time.

In 1942, the British Eighth Army launched an offensive at El Alamein in Egypt, a World War II battle that eventually swept the Germans out of North Africa.

In 1945, Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player hired by a major league team, was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers and sent to their Montreal farm team. He moved up to the Dodgers in 1947 and became one of the sport's greatest stars.

In 1972, earthquakes killed more than 10,000 people in Nicaragua.

In 1983, suicide bomb attacks on peacekeeping troops in Beirut killed 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French soldiers.

In 1989, Hungary formally declared an end to 40 years of communist rule and proclaimed itself a republic, setting the stage for creation of Western-style democracy in the Eastern Bloc state.

In 1995, the U.S. Defense Department announced it was ending a program designed to help minority-owned firms secure government contracts.

In 1998, Dr. Barnett Slepian, an obstetrician who performed abortions, was killed by a sniper who fired a bullet through a window of Slepian's home in Amherst, N.Y.

In 2005, a Nigerian plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Lagos, killing all 117 people aboard.

In 2006, Panamanians voted overwhelmingly to support a proposal to expand the Panama Canal to allow larger ships to pass through.

In 2008, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told a U.S. House committee the United States is "in the midst of a once-in-a-century credit tsunami" that left him in a state of "shocked disbelief."

In 2010, Prime Minister David Thompson of the Caribbean nation of Barbados died of pancreatic cancer. He was 48.

In 2011, southeastern Turkey was struck by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 600 people and injured about 4,100.

In 2012, a father in Hangzhou, China, was sentenced to five years in prison for selling his 27-day-old baby for $10,300 to pay off debts.

A thought for the day: the Apostle Peter wrote, "Charity shall cover the multitude of sins."

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