The almanac

By United Press International   |   Feb. 20, 2009 at 3:30 AM

Today is Friday, Feb. 20, the 51st day of 2009 with 314 to follow.

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

Those born on this day are under the sign of Pisces. They include American Revolutionary War hero William Prescott in 1726; photographer Ansel Adams in 1902; Soviet leader Alexei Kosygin in 1904; TV emcee John Daly in 1914; fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt in 1924 (age 85); film director Robert Altman in 1925; former race car driver Bobby Unser in 1934 (age 75); singers Nancy Wilson in 1937 (age 72) and Buffy Sainte-Marie in 1941 (age 68); actors Sidney Poitier in 1927 (age 82), Sandy Duncan in 1946 (age 63), Peter Strauss in 1947 (age 62) and Jennifer O'Neill in 1948 (age 61); heiress Patty Hearst Shaw in 1954 (age 55); former basketball star Charles Barkley in 1963 (age 46); actors French Stewart ("3rd Rock from the Sun") in 1964 (age 45) and Andrew Shue in 1967 (age 42); and model Cindy Crawford in 1966 (age 43).

On this date in history:

In 1809, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the power of the federal government was no greater than that of any individual state of the Union.

In 1848, Karl Marx's influential "Communist Manifesto" was published in London by a group called the Communist League.

In 1938, Anthony Eden resigned as Britain's foreign secretary to protest the "appeasement" policy of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain toward Nazi Germany.

In 1962, U.S. astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. He landed safely after three orbits in a Mercury spacecraft.

In 1991, U.S. troops penetrated Iraq, capturing as many as 500 Iraqi soldiers.

Also in 1991, the United States approved a $400 million loan guarantee to Israel for housing Soviet Jewish immigrants but banned use of the money in the occupied territories.

In 1992, Israeli armored ground forces withdrew from Lebanese villages following a one-day strike. Israel defended the incursion as necessary, but the U.N. secretary-general protested the assault.

Also in 1992, an FDA panel urged limiting access to silicone gel-filled breast implants.

In 1998, Tara Lipinski, 15, of the United States became the youngest person to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating.

In 2002, U.S, President George Bush said in Seoul that the United States had no intention of attacking North Korea and would work toward reunification efforts.

In 2003, 100 people were killed and many more were injured when fire broke out during a rock concert at a West Warwick, R.I., nightclub.

Also in 2003, the Pentagon announced that 1,700 U.S. troops would be sent to the Philippines to take on an extremist Muslim group.

In 2004, conservatives won the majority of seats in the Iraq parliamentary election.

Also in 2004, an estimated 4,500 people were left homeless after fire swept through an area of Nairobi, Kenya.

And, a San Francisco judge refused to issue a temporary restraining order that would have halted the city's same-sex marriages.

In 2005, the Israeli Cabinet gave Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the go-ahead to evacuate the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank.

In 2006, the Danish newspaper that published controversial cartoons of Muslim Prophet Mohammed and triggered widespread, angry and often deadly protests, ran a full-page apology in Saudi papers.

In 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have no challenge rights in U.S. courts.

In 2008, a U.S. missile interceptor, launched from a U.S. Navy ship, knocked down a dying satellite 130 miles over the Pacific Ocean. Officials said the satellite contained a potentially dangerous cargo of 1,000 pounds of frozen toxic fuel.

A thought for the day: "Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart." Pablo Casals said that.

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