Today is Wednesday, June 24, the 175th day of 2009 with 190 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Neptune, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Uranus. The evening star is Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include clergyman Henry Ward Beecher in 1813; writer and satirist Ambrose Bierce in 1842; heavyweight boxing champ Jack Dempsey in 1895; band leader Phil Harris in 1904; author/editor Norman Cousins in 1915; musician Mick Fleetwood, co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, in 1942 (age 67); actors Michele Lee in 1942 (age 67) and Peter Weller in 1947 (age 62); and actress Nancy Allen in 1950 (age 59).
On this date in history:
In 1812, Napoleon's army entered Russia.
In 1901, Pablo Picasso's artwork was given its first exhibition, in Paris.
In 1948, Soviet forces blockaded the western zones of Berlin, setting the stage for the Berlin airlift to support the 2 million people of the divided German city.
In 1975, an Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 en route from New Orleans crashed at New York's Kennedy International airport, killing 114 people.
In 1986, actress Raquel Welch won a $10.8 million verdict against MGM, which she claimed ruined her career by firing her from the 1980 movie "Cannery Row."
In 1987, comedian/actor Jackie Gleason died at the age of 71.
In 1991, on the eve of the 41st anniversary of the start of the Korean War, the U.S. and North Korea agreed on returning the remains of missing soldiers; 11 sets of remains were shipped.
In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that health warnings on cigarette packs don't necessarily exempt tobacco companies from false advertising lawsuits if they continue to tell consumers that smoking is safe.
In 1993, Kurdish militants, seeking to call attention to their nine-year struggle to form an independent Kurdish state, attacked Turkish diplomatic missions and businesses in more than two-dozen European cities.
In 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush said publicly for the first time that the United States wouldn't support a Palestinian state so long as Yasser Arafat was in command.
In 2003, author Leon Uris, who wrote "Exodus," the story of the struggle to establish and defend the state of Israel, and other famous novels, died at age 78.
In 2004, more than 100 people died in a series of apparently well-coordinated insurgency attacks on five cities in Iraq.
In 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported the nation's second confirmed case of mad cow disease.
In 2006, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a White House request to send another 1,500 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to protect against illegal immigration. The state earlier had agreed to send 1,000 troops to the border.
In 2007, the former aide to the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein known as "Chemical Ali" was sentenced to be executed for crimes against humanity. Ali Hassan al-Majid earned his nickname for the poisonous gas and chemicals used against Kurds.
Also in 2007, at least 200 people killed by gale-force winds and rain in the coastal city of Karachi in southern Pakistan.
In 2008, a survivor of a Philippines ferry that capsized in a typhoon told authorities the captain's order to abandon ship came too late to help many of the 849 passengers and crew. Philippines officials said 57 passengers were found alive in the three days following the storm.
A thought for the day: Ambrose Bierce said an acquaintance is "A person whom we know well enough to borrow from but not well enough to lend to."