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The almanac

By United Press International   |   Jan. 1, 2009 at 3:30 AM   |   Comments

Today is Thursday, Jan. 1, the first day of 2009. There are 364 days to follow.

This is New Year's Day.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include American patriot Paul Revere in 1735; Betsy Ross, who, legend has it, made the first American flag, in 1752; English novelist E.M. Forster in 1879; FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in 1895; bandleader Xavier Cugat in 1900; former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., the 1964 Republican candidate for president, in 1909; British-born Soviet master spy Harold "Kim" Philby in 1912; novelist J.D. Salinger in 1919 (age 90); and actors Dana Andrews in 1909 and Frank Langella in 1946 (age 63).


On this date in history:

In 45 B.C., New Year's Day was celebrated on Jan. 1 for the first time as the Julian calendar took effect.

In 1803, two months after his defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte's colonial forces, Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaimed the independence of Saint-Domingue, renaming it Haiti after its original Arawak name.

In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation, introduced the previous September by Abraham Lincoln, took effect. It declared freedom for slaves in all areas of the Confederacy that were still in rebellion against the Union.

In 1892, Ellis Island opened in New York Harbor.

In 1902, the University of Michigan beat Stanford, 49-0, in the inaugural Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, Calif.

In 1951, the Zenith Radio Corporation of Chicago demonstrated the first pay-per-view television system, offering three movies, "April Showers," "Welcome Stranger" and "Homecoming."

In 1953, influential country singer Hank Williams, 29, died of a heart attack in the back of a limousine on the way to a show in Canton, Ohio.

In 1959, Fidel Castro declared victory in the Cuban revolution as dictator Fulgencio Batista fled the island.

In 1962, the Beatles auditioned for Decca records in London on the same day as Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. Decca chose the Tremeloes.

In 1975, a jury convicted former U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell and former White House aides John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman on all counts in the Watergate cover-up case.

In 1986, Soviet television aired a five-minute greeting from U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Americans got the same from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the first such exchange between the superpowers.

In 1990, a settlement was announced in the bitter, sometimes violent nine-month Pittston coal strike.

In 1993, the country of Czechoslovakia dissolved with the New Year, replaced by separate Czech Republic and Slovak states.

In 1995, a four-month truce between the Muslim-led Bosnian government and Bosnian Serbs went into effect. Bosnia's Croat leader signed the truce the next day.

In 1998, a law went into effect in California banning smoking in all bars and nightclubs. It already was illegal to smoke in the state's restaurants and cafes.

In 2000, in his first day as Russia's acting president, Vladimir Putin traveled to the rebellious republic of Chechnya to visit Russian troops.

In 2002, 12 European countries began the new year by turning in their own currency and adopting a common one, the euro, in the biggest currency change in history.

Also in 2002, Argentina, staggered by severe economic problems, chose its fifth president in two weeks.

In 2004, British Airways canceled two flights from London to Washington because officials feared the flights had been targeted by terrorists.

Also in 2004, at least 22 people were killed and hundreds of others injured during New Year's celebrations in the Philippines.

In 2005, a published report said interrogators at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have routinely used inhumane methods that could be viewed as torture.

Also in 2005, Colombian officials suspected left-wing rebels were responsible for the slaughter of 17 people during a New Year's Eve celebration.

In 2006, Russia's state-owned energy company began shutting off natural gas supplies to Ukraine in a pricing dispute. The service was restored the next day after criticism from affected countries in Western Europe.

In 2007, a Jakarta airliner crashed in bad weather in Indonesian mountains killing most of its 102 passengers. Reports said there were 12 survivors.

Also in 2007, South Korea's Ban Ki-moon succeeded Kofi Annan as secretary-general of the United Nations.

And, Somalia troops captured the Indian Ocean port town of Kismayo, driving Islamists from their stronghold as U.S. warships patrolled the coast.

In 2008, in a vicious chapter of the Kenyan presidential dispute, some 15 members of the Kikuyu tribe, whose ranks include President Mwai Kibaki, were reported burned to death by a rival tribe after taking refuge in a church in the Rift Valley.


A thought for the day: it was U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt who said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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