The Almanac

By United Press International   |   Sept. 24, 2004 at 3:30 AM

Today is Friday, Sept. 24, the 268th day of 2004 with 98 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include novelist Horace Walpole in 1717; John Marshall, fourth chief justice of the United States, in 1755; French chemist Georges Claude, inventor of the neon lamp, in 1870; novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1896; sports announcer Jim McKay in 1921 (age 83); actors/singers Sheila MacRae in 1923 (age 81) and Anthony Newley in 1931 (age 73); Muppet creator Jim Henson in 1936; singer/photographer Linda Eastman McCartney, wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, in 1941; actor Gordon Clapp ("NYPD Blue") in 1948 (age 56); comedian Phil Hartman also in 1949; and actor Kevin Sorbo in 1958 (age 46).

On this date in history:

The Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed by Congress and signed by President George Washington, establishing the Supreme Court of the United States as a tribunal made up of six justices who were to serve on the court until death or retirement. The number of justices became nine in 1869.

In 1929, aviator James Doolittle demonstrated the first "blind" takeoff and landing, using only instruments to guide his aircraft.

In 1942, as World War II raged, Glenn Miller ended his long-running radio show and announced he was going into the Army.

In 1955, President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack while vacationing in Colorado.

In 1959, President Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev met at Camp David, Md.

In 1986, Congress adopted the rose as the national flower.

In 1993, in an address at the U.N., South African black leader Nelson Mandela called for the lifting of remaining international economic sanctions against South Africa.

In 1994, it was reported that CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames had exposed 55 secret U.S. and allied operations to the Soviet Union and Russia.

In 1996, Israel opened a second entrance to a tunnel used by archeologists at the Temple Mount, sacred to Muslims as well as Jews. The action sparked deadly rioting.

In 1997, following the slayings of hundreds of civilians in a series of incidents believed linked to upcoming elections and the long though sporatically fought civil war, the military wing of Algeria's principle Islamic opposition group called for a truce and ordered its guerrillas to "stop combat operations."

In 1998, Iran's foreign minister announced that Iran had dropped its 1989 call for the death of Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses" which many Muslims found blasphemous.

In 2002, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 189.02 points and closed at 7,683.13, its lowest standing since October, 1998.

Also in 2002, armed assailants killed 29 people and wounded 75 in an attack on a Hindu temple in Gandhinagar, India.

In 2003, a new Gallup poll indicated that 67 percent of Baghdad residents believe that the removal of Saddam Hussein was worth the hardships they have endured.

A thought for the day: Russian-born American novelist and screenwriter Ayn Rand said, "Disunity, that's the trouble. It's my absolute opinion that in our complex industrial society, no business enterprise can succeed without sharing the burden of the problem with other enterprises."

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