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The almanac

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

Today is Saturday, Jan. 3, the third day of 2009, with 362 to follow.

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 were under the sign of Capricorn. They include feminist and abolitionist Lucretia Mott in 1793; British Prime Minister Clement Attlee in 1883; J.R.R. Tolkien, author of "The Lord of the Rings," in 1892; actor Ray Milland in 1905; entertainer Victor Borge in 1909; Maxine Andrews, of the Andrews Sisters singing trio, in 1918; actors Robert Loggia in 1930 (age 79) and Dabney Coleman in 1932 (age 77); Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull in 1939 (age 70); actress Victoria Principal in 1950 (age 59) and actor/director Mel Gibson in 1956 (age 53).


On this date in history:

In 1777, the Continental Army commanded by Gen. George Washington defeated the British at Princeton, N.J.

In 1938, the first March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was organized.

In 1959, Alaska became the 49th state of the union.

In 1961, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba after Fidel Castro announced he was a communist.

In 1967, Jack Ruby, who shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the assumed assassin of President John F. Kennedy, died of cancer in Dallas.

In 1969, police at Newark, N.J., confiscated a shipment of the John Lennon-Yoko Ono albums "Two Virgins" because the cover photo, featuring full frontal nudity, violated pornography laws.

In 1990, deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega left his refuge in the Vatican Embassy in Panama City and surrendered to U.S. troops. He was whisked to Florida to face narcotics trafficking charges.

In 1991, AIDS was removed from the list of diseases that would automatically bar an infected person from entering the United States.

In 1993, U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the START II treaty reducing strategic nuclear arsenals by two-thirds.

In 2001, the 107th U.S. Congress convened for the first time with the Senate equally divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans had a 10-member advantage in the House of Representatives.

Also in 2001, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a percent to stem an economic slowdown.

In 2003, Democrats John Kerry, John Edwards, Howard Dean and Al Sharpton announced runs for their party's 2004 presidential nomination.

In 2004, a Flash Airline Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheik in Egypt, killing 148 people.

Also in 2004, a NASA robotic explorer called Spirit touched down on Mars, sending a signal to California that it survived the descent through the Martian atmosphere.

In 2005, Indonesia's Ministry of Health announced another 14,000 deaths, bringing the total of lives lost in Asia's earthquake and tsunami disaster to 155,000.

In 2006, Jack Abramoff, a powerful Washington lobbyist, agreed to plead guilty to fraud, public corruption and tax evasion charges and to testify against politicians and former colleagues.

Also in 2006, Iran advised the International Atomic Energy Agency it planned to restart work on what it called its "peaceful nuclear energy program."

In 2007, an Iraqi prison guard was arrested for illegally videotaping the Baghdad execution of deposed leader Saddam Hussein and posting it on the Internet.

In 2008, the Iowa caucuses got the U.S. presidential nomination campaign under way at its earliest date with Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee the initial winners in a story that dominated the political scene for much of the year.


A thought for the day: Henry David Thoreau said, "Be true to your work, your word and your friend."

© 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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