The Almanac

July 20, 2007 at 3:30 AM

Today is Friday, July 20, the 201st day of 2007 with 164 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include silent movie queen Theda Bara in 1885; New Zealand explorer Edmund Hillary, who in 1953 conquered Mount Everest, in 1919 (age 88); Elliot Richardson, U.S. attorney general under U.S. President Richard Nixon, in 1920; actresses Sally Ann Howes in 1930 (age 77), Diana Rigg (age 69) and Natalie Wood, both in 1938; singer Kim Carnes in 1945 (age 62); guitarist Carlos Santana in 1947 (age 60), and actress Donna Dixon in 1957 (age 50).

On this date in history:

In 1859, American baseball fans were charged an admission fee for the first time when 1,500 spectators each paid 50 cents to see Brooklyn play New York.

In 1881, five years after U.S. Army Gen. George A. Custer's defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Sioux leader Sitting Bull surrendered to the U.S. Army which promised amnesty for him and his followers.

In 1945, the U.S. flag was raised over Berlin as the first U.S. troops moved in to take part in the post-World War II occupation.

In 1940, Billboard magazine published its first "Music Popularity Chart," topped by "I'll Never Smile Again" by the Tommy Dorsey orchestra with Frank Sinatra.

In 1951, while entering a mosque in the Jordanian sector of east Jerusalem, King Abdullah of Jordan was assassinated by a Palestinian nationalist.

In 1968, the first Special Olympics Games were contested at Soldier Field in Chicago.

In 1969, U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon.

In 1976, the Viking 1 lander, an unmanned U.S. planetary probe, became the first spacecraft to successfully land on the surface of Mars.

In 1985, treasure hunter Mel Fisher located a Spanish galleon sunk by a 1622 hurricane off Key West, Fla. It contained $400 million worth of treasure.

In 1989, U.S. President George H.W. Bush called for the United States to organize a long-range space program to support an orbiting space station, a moon base and a manned mission to Mars.

In 1990, Justice William Brennan, 84, resigned after 34 years on Supreme Court, citing age and ill health.

In 1991, Peruvian evidence showed former President Alan Garcia transferred as much as $50 million in government funds to the Panamanian branch of BCCI for private use.

In 1992, seven people were killed when a test model of the Marine Corps' V-22 Osprey transport aircraft crashed into the Potomac River.

In 1993, White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster was found shot to death in a park in northern Virginia. His death was ruled a suicide.

Also in 1993, the Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings into the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was later confirmed.

In 1994, the Bosnian Serb leadership rejected a plan backed by the major countries that would've given them 49 percent of Bosnian territory.

In 1995, the California Board of Regents voted 14-10 to end consideration of race, sex, religion, color or national origin to the admission of students to state colleges and universities.

In 2003, on the 34th anniversary of his historic feat, Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, paid homage to the men who made it possible, Orville and Wilbur Wright, in a ceremony saluting the 100th anniversary of their legendary flight.

In 2005, China said it planned to stop tying the value of its currency, the yuan, to the U.S. dollar.

Also in 2005, the U.S. Justice Department activated its online National Sex Offender Public Registry, linking the registries of 22 states.

In 2006, U.S. President Bush received a kind reception and applause from the NAACP in his first address to the nation's oldest civil rights organization as president. He had turned won five invitations to speak.

A thought for the day: in "Hamlet," Shakespeare wrote, "Brevity is the soul of wit." But it was Dorothy Parker who said, "Brevity is the soul of lingerie."

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