Today is Friday, March 17, the 76th day of 2006 with 289 to follow.
This is St. Patrick's Day.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The evening stars are Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include German engineer Gottlieb Daimler, inventor of the gasoline-burning internal combustion engine, in 1834; children's author and illustrator Kate Greenaway in 1846; golfing legend Bobby Jones in 1902; actress Mercedes McCambridge in 1918; singer/pianist Nat "King" Cole in 1919; ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev in 1938; actors Patrick Duffy in 1949 (age 57), Kurt Russell in 1951 (age 55), Leslie-Anne Down in 1954 (age 52), Gary Sinise in 1955 (age 51), Rob Lowe in 1964 (age 42), and Vicki Lewis in 1966 (age 39); soccer star Mia Hamm in 1972 (age 34); and Caroline Corr, of the Irish pop band The Corrs, in 1973 (age 33).
On this date in history:
In 1762, New York City staged the first parade honoring the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It was led by Irish soldiers serving in the British army.
In 1776, the Continental Army under Gen. George Washington forced British troops to evacuate Boston.
In 1901, 71 paintings by the late Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh were shown at the Bernheim-Jeune gallery in Paris and caused a sensation across the art world.
In 1945, the bloody battle against Japanese forces for the Pacific island of Iwo Jima ended in victory for the United States.
In 1958, the U.S. Navy launched the satellite Vanguard-1 into orbit around Earth.
In 1978, the tanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground on the coast of Brittany in France, eventually spilling some 220,000 tons of crude oil.
In 1991, Iran and Saudi Arabia resumed diplomatic relations broken in 1988.
In 1992, South African whites voted to end minority rule.
Also in 1992, 10 people were killed and at least 126 injured in a bomb blast that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In 1993, an Amtrak passenger train hit a gasoline tanker in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., killing the tanker driver and five other people.
Also in 1993, legendary actress Helen Hayes died at age 92.
In 1997, Anthony Lake, President Bill Clinton's nominee as director of the CIA, withdrew his name from consideration following questions about his management ability while head of the National Security Council.
In 1999, the International Olympic Committee voted to expel six members in connection with the bribery scandal related to the effort by Salt Lake City to win the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Five other IOC members had already resigned.
In 2000, Smith & Wesson, the nation's oldest and largest maker of handguns, agreed to a wide array of restrictions in exchange for ending some lawsuits that threatened to bankrupt the company.
In 2003, as war with Iraq seemed a certainty, President George W. Bush gave Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons 48 hours in which to leave the country but the ultimatum was rejected. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ordered all U.N. personal out of Iraq.
In 2004, more than 25 people were reported killed and 41 injured in a car-bomb blast at the Mount Lebanon Hotel in Baghdad.
Also in 2004, Las Vegas authorities captured Charles A. McCoy Jr., wanted in connection with a string of highway sniper shootings in Ohio.
In 2005, several baseball players told Congress that steroids were a problem in the sport. Jim Bunning, Baseball Hall of Famer turned U.S. senator, said in response that the time may have come for Congress to intervene to deal with steroid abuse in baseball.
A thought for the day: George Washington wrote, "Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."