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The Almanac

By United Press International   |   Jan. 1, 2004 at 3:30 AM   |   Comments

Today is Thursday, Jan. 1, the first day of 2004. There are 365 days to follow.

This is New Year's Day and the beginning of Leap Year.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include American patriot Paul Revere in 1735; Betsy Ross, who, according to legend, made the first American flag, in 1752; English novelist E.M. Forster in 1879; FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in 1895; bandleader Xavier Cugat in 1900; former Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., the 1964 Republican candidate for president, in 1909; British-born Soviet master spy Harold "Kim" Philby in 1912; novelist J.D. Salinger in 1919 (age 85); and actors Dana Andrews in 1909 and Frank Langella in 1946 (age 58).


On this date in history:

In 45 B.C., New Year's Day was celebrated on Jan. 1 for the first time in history as the Julian calendar took effect.

In 1803, two months after his defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte's colonial forces, Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaimed the independence of Saint-Domingue, renaming it Haiti after its original Arawak name

In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation, declared the previous September by Abraham Lincoln, took effect. It declared freedom for slaves in all areas of the Confederacy that were still in rebellion against the Union.

In 1892, Ellis Island opened in New York Harbor.

In 1953, influential country singer Hank Williams, 29, died of a heart attack in the back of a limousine on the way to a show in Canton, Ohio.

In 1902, the University of Michigan beat Stanford, 49-0, in the inaugural Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, Calif.

in 1951, the Zenith Radio Corporation of Chicago demonstrated the first pay-per-view television system, offering three movies, "April Showers," "Welcome Stranger" and "Homecoming."

In 1959, Fidel Castro declared a victory in the Cuban revolution as dictator Fulgencio Batista fled the island.

In 1962, the Beatles auditioned for Decca records in London on the same day as Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. Decca chose the Tremeloes.

In 1975, a jury convicted former Attorney General John Mitchell and former White House aides John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman on all counts in the Watergate cover-up case.

In 1986, Soviet television aired a five-minute greeting from President Reagan and Americans got the same from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the first such exchange between the superpowers.

In 1990, a settlement was announced in the bitter, sometimes violent nine-month Pittston coal strike.

In 1993, the country of Czechoslovakia dissolved with the New Year, replaced by separate Czech and Slovak states.

In 1994, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates married Melinda French in Hawaii.

In 1995, a shaky four-month truce between the Muslim-led Bosnian government and Bosnian Serbs went into effect. Bosnia's Croat leader signed the truce the next day.

In 1998, a new law went into effect in California banning smoking in all bars and nightclubs. It already was illegal to smoke in the state's restaurants and cafes.

In 2000, in his first day as Russia's acting president, Vladimir Putin traveled to the rebellious republic of Chechnya to visit Russian troops.

In 2002, in the largest U.S. ground operation of the war on terrorism at that point, 200 Marines began a two-day swept through deserted training camps in southern Afghanistan but found none of the terrorist leaders.

Also in 2002, Argentina, staggered by severe economy problems, chose its fifth president in two weeks.

And, in 2002, 12 European countries began the new year by turning in their own currency and adopting a common one, the euro, in the biggest currency change in history.


A thought for the day: it was President Theodore Roosevelt who said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

© 2004 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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