The Almanac

By United Press International   |   Sept. 20, 2002 at 3:00 AM

Today is Friday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2002 with 102 to follow.

The moon is waxing, moving toward a new phase.

The morning stars are Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. The evening stars are Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Neptune.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include Australian nurse Sister Elizabeth Kenny, who pioneered the care of polio victims, in 1886; novelist Upton Sinclair in 1878; jazz piano player Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton in 1885; Basketball Hall of Fame coach Arnold Jacob "Red" Auerbach in 1917 (age 85); fashion designer James Galanos in 1924 (age 78); actress Anne Meara in 1924 (age 78); psychologist/author Dr. Joyce Brothers in 1928 (age 74); and actresses Sophia Loren in 1934 (age 68), Fran Drescher in 1957 (age 45) and Kristen Johnson in 1967 (age 35).

On this date in history:

In 1519, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan began a voyage to find a western passage to the East Indies.

In 1873, financial chaos forced the New York Stock Exchange to close. It remained closed for 10 days.

In 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival opened at the resort city of Cannes on the French Riviera on this date. An earlier attempt to begin the international movie showcase in 1939 was halted by the outbreak of World War II.

In 1966, Britain's Queen Elizabeth launched the Cunard liner QE II, now the only remaining ocean liner on the formerly thriving trans-Atlantic route.

In 1984, Muslim terrorists bombed the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 23 people, including two Americans. It was the third terrorist attack on U.S. installations in Beirut in 17 months.

In 1990, a military court convicted Nicu Ceausescu, 39, youngest son of executed former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, of murder.

In 1991, the Cambodian government and three rebel factions agreed on a form of future U.N.-supervised elections.

In 1992, French voters narrowly approved the Maastricht Treaty on European unity.

Also in 1992, four Dade County, Fla., circuit court judges went on trial in Miami on bribery and extortion charges in "Operation Courtbroom," the FBI's biggest judicial sting in a decade.

In 1993, recommendations to close 130 domestic military bases and scale back 45 others became final when the Senate rejected a motion to overturn the decision.

Also in 1993, leaders of the three factions fighting in Bosnia broke off negotiations aboard a British aircraft carrier in the Adriatic Sea.

In 1999, a jury in Bryan, Texas, convicted a second white man in the 1998 dragging death of a black man.

In 2000, the six-year Whitewater investigation of President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton ended without any indictments being issued. Independent Counsel Robert Ray said there was insufficient evidence to establish any criminal wrongdoing.

In 2001, President Bush demanded that Afghanistan hand over Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Otherwise, he said, the Taliban would share his fate. The president also named Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania to head the new Office of Homeland Security.

A thought for the day: American preacher, physician and suffragist Anna Howard Shaw said, "It is better to be true to what you believe, though that be wrong, than to be false to what you believe, even if that belief is correct."

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