The Almanac

By United Press International   |   Sept. 21, 2006 at 3:30 AM

Today is Thursday, Sept. 21, the 264th day of 2006 with 101 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 Louis Joliet, French-Canadian explorer of the Mississippi River, in 1645; author and historian H.G. Wells in 1866; composer Gustav Holst in 1874; British publisher Allen Lane, who introduced the low-priced paperback book, in 1902; animator Chuck Jones (Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote) in 1912; actors Larry Hagman in 1931 (age 75) and Henry Gibson in 1935 (age 71); comedian Fanny Flagg in 1944 (age 62); author Stephen King in 1947 (age 59); comedian Bill Murray in 1950 (age 56); Ethan Coen, one of the filmmaking Coen brothers, in 1957 (age 49); actors Nancy Travis in 1961 (age 45), Rob Morrow in 1962 (age 44) and Ricki Lake in 1968 (age 38).

On this date in history:

In 1792, the Legislative Assembly of revolutionary France voted to abolish the monarchy and establish the First Republic, stripping King Louis XVI of most of his power.

In 1893, the first successful U.S.-made, gasoline-operated motorcar appeared on the streets of Springfield, Mass. It was designed and built by Charles and Frank Duryea.

In 1921, following the sex scandal caused by the arrest of comedian Fatty Arbuckle, Universal announced it would require its actors to sign a "morality clause" in their contracts.

In 1938, an estimated 600 people were killed by a hurricane that battered the coast of New England.

In 1985, Western intelligence estimates said the Iran-Iraq war in five years had cost nearly 1 million lives.

In 1991, Armenia became the 12th Soviet republic to declare independence.

In 1993, Russian President Boris Yeltsin suspended the parliament and announced parliamentary elections would be in December.

In 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to disregard same sex marriages that might be official in other places.

And in 1996, John F. Kennedy, Jr., son of the late U.S. president and described by tabloids as the world's most eligible bachelor, wed Carolyn Bessette.

In 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton's videotaped grand jury testimony, during which he admitted to an inappropriate relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, was shown on television. It ran more than four hours.

Also in 1998, Hurricane Georges began its deadly rampage through the Caribbean, killing more than 600 people.

In 1999, at least 2,300 people were killed when an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck Taiwan.

In 2001, a telecast by top movie stars and musicians raised more than $500 million for survivors of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In 2002, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly told the Bush administration Israel would strike back if attacked by Iraq.

In 2003, the spacecraft Galileo approached the fringes of Jupiter's atmosphere and then was directed to destroy itself in a high-speed plunge.

In 2004, two U.S. hostages were reported executed by suspected Iraqi insurgents within a day of each other. Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong, contractors working for a United Arab Emirates firm, were kidnapped from their Baghdad home.

In 2005, Texas coastal residents were ordered to evacuate, creating a mass exodus from the Houston and Galveston area as Hurricane Rita became the third-most intense hurricane on record in the Atlantic Basin. Top sustained winds were near 165 mph over the Gulf of Mexico.

A thought for the day: Greek philosopher Epicurus said, "Freedom is the greatest fruit of self-sufficiency."

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