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The almanac

By United Press International   |   Feb. 22, 2009 at 3:30 AM
Today is Sunday, Feb. 22, the 53rd day of 2009 with 312 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 date are under the sign of Pisces. They include George Washington, first president of the United States, in 1732; German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in 1788; poet, diplomat and editor James Lowell in 1819; Englishman Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout movement, and German physicist Heinrich Hertz, discoverer of radio waves, both in 1857; poet Edna St. Vincent Millay in 1892; actor and TV producer Sheldon Leonard in 1907; Robert Pershing Wadlow, at 8 ft. 11.1 inches tall, the tallest person in recorded history, in 1918; actors Robert Young in 1907, John Mills in 1908 and Paul Dooley in 1928 (age 81); U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., in 1932 (age 77); filmmaker Jonathan Demme in 1944 (age 65); former basketball star "Dr. J" Julius Erving in 1950 (age 59); and actors Kyle MacLachlan in 1959 (age 50), Jeri Ryan ("Star Trek: Voyager") in 1968 (age 41) and Drew Barrymore in 1975 (age 34).


On this date in history:

In 1819, a treaty with Spain ceded Florida to the United States.

In 1862, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as president of the Confederate States of America.

In 1879, Woolworth, the first chain store, opened in Utica, N.Y.

In 1972, U.S. President Richard Nixon arrived in Beijing on a historic visit to China. It was the first U.S. presidential visit to the world's most populous country.

In 1973, Israeli fighter planes shot down an unarmed Libyan commercial airliner, killing 106 of the 113 people aboard.

In 1980, in one of the most dramatic upsets in Olympic history, the underdog U.S. hockey team, made up of collegians and second-tier professional players, defeated the defending champion Soviet team, regarded as the world's finest, 4-3 at the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.

In 1987, artist Andy Warhol died of heart failure at age 58.

In 1991, Iraq set fire to dozens of oil facilities in occupied Kuwait.

In 1993, the U.N. Security Council voted to form an international war crimes tribunal to try those accused of such offenses during the ethnic fighting in the former Yugoslavia.

In 1995, at a news conference, British Prime Minister John Major and his Irish counterpart, John Bruton, unveiled a plan they hoped would bring peace to Northern Ireland.

In 1998, Iraq averted U.S. military intervention when it agreed to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to resume work.

In 2002, the General Accounting Office, investigative arm of Congress, sued U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in an effort to find out who met with him and his task force while they were developing a proposed national energy policy.

In 2003, U.S, President George Bush said time has run out for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's non-compliance with disarmament mandates.

In 2004, rebels attacked a refugee camp in northern Uganda, killing at least 192 people.

In 2005, a powerful earthquake struck Iran with a heavy loss of life. The number of those killed differed widely with some reports placing the toll at more than 500.

In 2006, a terrorist attack destroyed the golden dome atop the most revered Shiite shrine in Iraq, the al-Askari Mosque in Samara, touching off a wave of sectarian violence. Reports placed the number of dead at nearly 140 during the first two days after the attack.

In 2007, reports said insurgents in Iraq had begun using "dirty bombs" to spread chlorine gas.

Also in 2007, a San Diego jury said Microsoft must pay $1.52 billion for infringing on Alcatel-Lucent patents for MP3 audio technology. Microsoft said it would fight the verdict.

In 2008, the U.S. State Department was asked to approve the evacuation of family members and non-essential personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia. The request came after rioters protesting Kosovo's declaration of independence attacked the embassy.


A thought for the day: it was the Roman poet Ovid who advised, "Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be fish."

© 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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