The almanac

By United Press International   |   March 15, 2009 at 3:30 AM

Today is Sunday, March 15, the 75th day of 2009 with 291 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, in 1767; German immunologist Emil von Behring in 1854; Hollywood movie mogul Lew Wasserman in 1913; trumpet playing bandleader Harry James in 1916; astronaut Alan Bean in 1932 (age 77); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 1933 (age 76); actor Judd Hirsch in 1935 (age 74); singers Mike Love of the Beach Boys in 1941 (age 68) and Sly Stone of Sly and the Family Stone in 1944 (age 65); actress Park Overall in 1957 (age 52); and model Fabio, born Fabio Lanzoni, in 1959 (age 50).

On this date in history:

In 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was assassinated by Brutus and other Roman nobles in Rome.

In 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain after his first voyage to the New World.

In 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise between the North and the South, Maine was admitted into the Union as the 23rd state. It had been administered as a province of Massachusetts since 1647.

In 1916, U.S. Army General John "Black Jack" Pershing marched into Mexico to capture revolutionary leader Pancho Villa, who had staged several cross-border raids. The two-year expedition was unsuccessful.

In 1984, the acquittal of a Miami police officer on charges of negligently killing a ghetto youth sparked a rampage by angry blacks in Miami. Some 550 people were arrested.

In 1985, two decades of military rule in Brazil ended with the installation of a civilian government.

In 1990, the Israeli Knesset brought down Yitzhak Shamir's government on a no-confidence motion after the Likud Party leader refused to accept a U.S. peace proposal.

In 1991, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic declared Serbia's secession from the Yugoslav federation.

In 1993, the New York Post filed for bankruptcy protection hours after the newspaper's new owner fired 72 employees, throwing the future of the 192-year-old tabloid into doubt.

In 1997, the rebellion in Zaire continued as Kisangani, the African nation's third-largest city, fell to rebel forces.

In 2001, Chechen militants hijacked a Russian airliner en route from Istanbul, Turkey, to Moscow and diverted it to Medina, Saudi Arabia. After nearly 24 hours of fruitless negotiations, a Saudi security team stormed the plane and freed the hostages.

In 2003, a strange new illness with pneumonia-like symptoms called severe acute respiratory syndrome -- SARS -- spread from Asia to Europe to North America.

In 2004, astronomers reported finding an object with a diameter of 800 to 1,100 miles circling the sun far beyond the orbit of any known planet. It was dubbed a "planetoid."

In 2006, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein testified for the first time in his massacre trial, calling the judicial proceedings a comedy and urging his fellow Iraqis to stop fighting each other and focus on the United States.

Also in 2006, the United Nations approved a new human rights council aimed at banning countries that abuse human rights from membership.

In 2007, a Democratic sponsored resolution calling for U.S. combat troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq within 120 days and be fully out of the country by March 31, 2008, failed in the Senate by 10 votes on a 50 to 48 count.

Also in 2007, Palestinian leaders of Hamas and Fatah agreed to a coalition government but their platform didn't recognize Israel or renounce violence.

In 2008, a 19-story industrial crane collapsed on the East Side of New York's Manhattan, demolishing an apartment building and other structures. Four construction workers were reported killed and 13 others were hurt.

A thought for the day: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg told an interviewer, "The emphasis must be not on the right to abortion but on the right to privacy and reproductive control."

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