The Almanac

By United Press International   |   Sept. 20, 2006 at 3:30 AM

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 20th, the 263rd day of 2006 with 102 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include Australian nurse Sister Elizabeth Kenny, who pioneered the care of polio victims, in 1886; novelist Upton Sinclair in 1878; Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Arnold Jacob "Red" Auerbach in 1917 (age 89); fashion designer James Galanos in 1925 (age 81); actress Anne Meara in 1929 (age 77); and actresses Sophia Loren in 1934 (age 72) and Kristen Johnson in 1967 (age 39).

On this date in history:

In 1519, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan began a voyage to find a western passage to the East Indies.

In 1873, financial chaos forced the New York Stock Exchange to close. It remained closed for 10 days.

In 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival opened on the French Riviera. An earlier attempt to begin the international movie showcase in 1939 was halted by the outbreak of World War II.

In 1966, Britain's Queen Elizabeth launched the Cunard liner QE II, eventually becoming the only ocean liner on the once-thriving trans-Atlantic route.

In 1984, Muslim terrorists bombed the U.S. Embassy annex in Lebanon, killing 23 people, including two Americans. It was the third terrorist attack on U.S. installations in Beirut in 17 months.

In 1990, a military court convicted Nicu Ceausescu, 39, youngest son of executed former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, of murder.

In 1991, the Cambodian government and three rebel factions agreed on a form of future U.N.-supervised elections.

In 1992, four Dade County, Fla., circuit court judges went on trial in Miami on bribery and extortion charges.

In 1993, leaders of the three factions fighting in Bosnia broke off negotiations aboard a British aircraft carrier in the Adriatic Sea.

In 1999, a jury in Bryan, Texas, convicted a second white man in the 1998 dragging death of a black man.

In 2000, the 6-year Whitewater investigation of U.S. President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton ended without any indictments being issued. Independent Counsel Robert Ray said there was insufficient evidence to establish any criminal wrongdoing.

In 2001, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was named to head the new Office of Homeland Security.

In 2002, Israeli forces demolished all but one building of the office compound of Palestinian chief Yasser Arafat after a suicide bomber killed seven aboard a Tel Aviv bus.

In 2003, armies of technicians in the mid-Atlantic states worked to restore power to 2.5 million customers still in the dark from Hurricane Isabel. The storm left at least 25 dead in seven states.

In 2004, CBS News said it regretted broadcasting a controversial report about U.S. President George Bush's military service duty, saying its source had misled the network.

In 2005, Hurricane Rita quickly strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds between Cuba and the Florida Keys. Forecasters upgraded the storm to a potentially catastrophic Category 5 by the next day.

Also in 2005, the Bush administration's disapproval rating reached a reported all-time high of 58 percent in a new USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll.

A thought for the day: American preacher, physician and suffragist Anna Howard Shaw said, "It is better to be true to what you believe, though that be wrong, than to be false to what you believe, even if that belief is correct."

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