The Almanac

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

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 1, the 336th day of 2004 with 30 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include detective novelist Rex Stout in 1886; former United Mine Workers president W.A. "Tony" Boyle in 1904; actress Mary Martin in 1913; comedian-filmmaker Woody Allen and soul singer Lou Rawls, both in 1935 (age 69); pro golfer Lee Trevino in 1939 (age 65); comedian Richard Pryor in 1940 (age 64); singer/actress Bette Midler in 1945 (age 59); actor Treat Williams in 1952 (age 52); and model Carol Alt in 1960 (age 44).

On this date in history:

In 1891, the game of basketball was invented when James Naismith, a physical education teacher at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Mass., put peach baskets at the opposite ends of the gym and gave students soccer balls to toss into them.

In 1903, the world's first drive-in gasoline station opened for business in Pittsburgh.

In 1917, Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town near Omaha, Neb.

In 1943, ending a "Big Three" meeting in Tehran, President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Russian Premier Josef Stalin pledged a concerted effort to defeat Nazi Germany.

In 1953, the first Playboy magazine was published. Marilyn Monroe was on the cover.

In 1955, Rosa Parks, a black woman, was arrested in Montgomery, Ala., for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus. The event has been called the birth of the modern civil rights movement.

In 1989, Soviet President Gorbachev and Pope John Paul II met in the Vatican City. Afterward, they announced an agreement to establish diplomatic ties and Gorbachev renounced more than 70 years of oppression of religion in the USSR.

In 1990, Iraq agreed to President Bush's call for diplomatic missions to seek a solution to the Gulf crisis, but insisted the Arab-Israeli dispute be a part of any bargain.

In 1991, voters in Soviet republic of Ukraine overwhelmingly voted for independence.

In 1992, the Senate Ethics Committee started an investigation into allegations Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., sexually harassed women who worked for him.

In 1996, an oil tanker sunk by the Japanese in 1941 was located off the coast of California, with its cargo intact.

In 1997, it was announced that Walt Disney Co. would donate $25 million to Los Angeles for the construction of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

In 2000, with the presidential election still undecided, Democrats and Republicans wound up with a 50-50 split in the Senate.

In 2001, as the U.S. and Israel pressured Yasser Arafat to crack down on Palestinian terrorist attacks, three suicide bombers struck Israelis the first two days of December, killing 29 people.

In 2003, Thailand officials said illegal drug traffic had been nearly eradicated, but the fight would continue until Thailand is completely drug free.

Also in 2003, Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president detained in The Hague on war crimes charges, said he would return to Serbian politics on the Dec. 28 legislative ballot.

A thought for the day: it was Ezra Pound who said, "Literature is news that stays news."

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