Today is Wednesday, Jan. 28, the 28th day of 2004 with 338 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Jupiter and Pluto. The evening stars are Venus, Mars, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include Canadian prime minister and statesman Alexander MacKenzie in 1822; Cuban revolutionary and poet Jose Marti in 1853; French novelist Colette in 1873; concert pianist Artur Rubinstein in 1887; abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock in 1912; sculptor Claes Oldenburg in 1929 (age 75); actor Alan Alda in 1936 (age 68); ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1948 (age 56); singer Sarah McLachlan in 1968 (age 36); and actor Elijah Wood in 1981 (age 23).
On this date in history:
In 1782, Congress authorized creation of the Great Seal of the United States.
In 1878, the first commercial telephone switchboard began operation in New Haven, Conn.
In 1974, Israel lifted its siege of Suez City and turned over 300,000 square miles of Egyptian territory to the United Nations, ending the occupation that had begun during the October 1973 war.
In 1982, kidnapped U.S. Brig. Gen. James Dozier was rescued in Padua, Italy, after 42 days in the hands of Italian Red Brigades terrorists.
In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 72 seconds after blastoff from Cape Canaveral, killing all seven crewmembers, including civilian teacher Christa McAuliffe. It was the U.S. space program's worst disaster.
In 1988, members of a polygamist clan surrendered in rural Marion, Utah, ending a 13-day siege.
In 1993, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that the U.S. military's policy against homosexuals was unconstitutional because it was "based on cultural myths and false stereotypes."
In 1994, a mistrial was declared in the case of Lyle Menendez, charged with his brother Eric in the murders of their parents. The jury had been unable to reach a verdict in Eric's case two weeks earlier.
In 1995, the United States and Vietnam agreed to exchange low-level diplomats and open liaison offices in each other's capital cities.
In 1996, Dallas beat Pittsburgh, 27-17, in Super Bowl XXX.
In 1997, five former police officers in South Africa admitted to killing anti-apartheid activist Stephen Biko, who died in police custody in 1977 and whose death had been officially listed as an accident.
In 2000, after decades of denial, the U.S. government finally admitted that workers making nuclear weapons were exposed to radiation and chemicals that led to cancer and early death.
In 2001, the Baltimore Ravens beat the New York Giants, 34-7, to win Super Bowl XXXV.
In 2003, President George W. Bush sought to focus on domestic issues on his annual State of the Union address, restating support for a tax cut program and calling for strengthening of Medicare and Social Security.
Also in 2003, at least 42 passengers burned to death when a luxury tourist bus collided head-on with a truck carrying paints and chemicals in India's eastern state of West Bengal.
Further, in 2003, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Likud party retained power in the Israeli parliamentary elections.
A thought for the day: Edward George Bulwer-Lytton said, "Talent does what it can; genius does what it must."