The Almanac

By United Press International   |   Nov. 18, 2005 at 3:30 AM

Today is Friday, Nov. 18, the 322nd day of 2005 with 43 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include French philosopher and writer Pierre Bayle in 1647; German composer Carl von Weber and English composer Henry Bishop ("Home Sweet Home"), both in 1786; French physicist Louis Daguerre, inventor of daguerreotype photography, in 1789; English playwright W.S. Gilbert, libretto writer for the comic operas of composer Arthur Sullivan, in 1836; Polish composer Ignace Paderewski in 1860; conductor Eugene Ormandy in 1899; pollster George Gallup in 1901; comedic actress Imogene Coca in 1908; songwriter Johnny Mercer in 1909; astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space, in 1923; and actors Brenda Vaccaro in 1939 (age 66), Linda Evans in 1942 (age 63), Jameson Parker in 1947 (age 58), Kevin Nealon in 1953 (age 52), Katey Sagal in 1956 (age 49), and Elizabeth Perkins in 1961 (age 44).

On this date in history:

In 1477, "The Sayings of the Philosophers" was published, the earliest known book printed in England to carry a date.

In 1874, the National Women's Christian Temperance Union was organized in Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1883, the United States adopted standard time and set up four zones -- Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific.

In 1928, Mickey Mouse made his screen debut in the landmark "Steamboat Willie" at the Colony Theater in New York City. The Walt Disney cartoon was the first with synchronized sound.

In 1963, push-button telephones made their debut. Touch-tone service was available as an option for an extra charge.

In 1978, more than 900 people died in a mass suicide-murder led by the Rev. Jim Jones at the People's Temple commune in Guyana, following the slaying of Rep. Leo Ryan, R-Calif. It was the largest mass suicide in modern history.

In 1991, the Lebanese Shiite Muslim faction the Islamic Jihad freed Church of England envoy Terry Waite and U.S. Professor Thomas Sutherland.

In 1993, South Africa's ruling National Party and leaders of 20 other parties representing blacks and whites approved a new national constitution that provides fundamental rights to blacks.

In 1994, Palestinian police opened fire on Islamic militants outside a mosque in the Gaza Strip, sparking riots that killed at least 14 people and injured 200.

In 1996, a 16-year CIA veteran was arrested for spying as he tried to board a plane at Washington's Dulles International Airport.

In 2002, international schools in Jakarta were closed following warnings from the United States and Australia they could be the target of terrorist attacks.

In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the state's prohibition against same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.

In 2004, the Department of Agriculture said a cow had tested positive for mad cow disease, which, if confirmed, would be the second U.S. case.

Also in 2004, Britain outlawed fox hunting in England and Wales.

A thought for the day: Ogden Nash said,

"Maybe I couldn't be dafter,

"But I keep wondering if this time we couldn't settle our differences before a war instead of after."

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