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The almanac

By United Press International   |   Jan. 1, 2012 at 3:30 AM   |   Comments

Today is Sunday, Jan. 1, the first day of 2012, a leap year. There are 365 days to follow.

This is New Year's Day.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include Italian statesman Lorenzo de' Medici in 1449, American patriot Paul Revere in 1735; American Revolution-era Gen. Anthony Wayne in 1745; Betsy Ross, who, legend has it, made the first American flag, in 1752; English novelist E.M. Forster in 1879; FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in 1895; bandleader Xavier Cugat in 1900; former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., the 1964 Republican nominee for president, in 1909; baseball Hall of fame member Hank Greenberg in 1911; British-born Soviet master spy Harold "Kim" Philby in 1912; boxer Rocky Graziano and novelist J.D. Salinger, both in 1919; actors Dana Andrews in 1909 and Frank Langella in 1938 (age 73); football Hall of Fame member Doak Walker in 1927; businessman Ron Perelman in 1943 (age 69); writer Shelby Steele in 1946 (age 66) former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine in 1947 (age 65); and model Elin Nordegren, former wife of Tiger Woods, in 1980 (age 32).


On this date in history:

In 45 B.C., New Year's Day was celebrated on Jan. 1 for the first time as the Julian calendar took effect.

In 1801, Ceres, classified as a dwarf planet, was discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi.

In 1803, two months after his defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte's colonial forces, Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaimed the independence of Saint-Domingue, renaming it Haiti after its original Arawak name.

In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation, introduced the previous September by Abraham Lincoln, took effect. It declared freedom for slaves in all areas of the Confederacy that were still in rebellion against the Union.

In 1890, the first Tournament of Roses parade took place in Pasadena, Calif.

In 1892, Ellis Island opened in New York Harbor.

In 1902, the University of Michigan beat Stanford, 49-0, in the inaugural Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, Calif.

In 1951, the Zenith Radio Corp. of Chicago demonstrated the first pay-per-view television system, offering three movies, "April Showers," "Welcome Stranger" and "Homecoming."

In 1953, influential country singer Hank Williams, 29, died of a heart attack in the back of a limousine on the way to a show in Canton, Ohio.

In 1959, Fidel Castro declared victory in the Cuban revolution as dictator Fulgencio Batista fled the island.

In 1962, the Beatles auditioned for Decca records in London on the same day as Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. Decca chose the Tremeloes.

In 1975, a jury convicted former U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell and former White House aides John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman on all counts in the Watergate coverup case.

In 1986, Soviet television aired a five-minute greeting from U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Americans got the same from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the first such exchange between the superpowers.

In 1990, a settlement was announced in the bitter, sometimes violent nine-month Pittston coal strike.

In 1993, the country of Czechoslovakia dissolved with the New Year, replaced by separate Czech Republic and Slovak states.

In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States, took effect.

In 1995, the World Trade Organization took effect.

In 1998, a law went into effect in California banning smoking in bars and nightclubs. It already was illegal to smoke in the state's restaurants and cafes.

In 2002, 12 European countries turned in their own currency and adopted a common one, the euro, in the biggest currency change in history.

Also in 2002, Argentina, staggered by severe economic problems, chose its fifth president in two weeks.

In 2005, Colombian officials suspected left-wing rebels were responsible for the slaughter of 17 people during a New Year's Eve celebration.

In 2006, Russia's state-owned energy company began shutting off natural gas supplies to Ukraine in a pricing dispute. The service was restored the next day after criticism from affected countries in Western Europe.

In 2007, a Jakarta airliner crashed in bad weather in Indonesian mountains killing most of its 102 passengers.

Also in 2007, South Korea's Ban Ki-moon succeeded Kofi Annan as secretary-general of the United Nations.

In 2008, in a vicious chapter of the Kenyan presidential dispute, 15 members of the Kikuyu tribe, whose ranks include President Mwai Kibaki, were reported burned to death by a rival tribe after taking refuge in a church in the Rift Valley.

In 2009, New Year celebrations ended in tragedy at a popular Bangkok nightclub where police said a fire killed at least 52 people and injured about 100 more. The blaze at the two-story Santika Club erupted shortly after the approximately 1,000 revelers rang in 2009.

In 2010, a suicide bomber killed nearly 90 people, most of them children, during a New Year's Day volleyball game in Laki Marwat, a city in northwest Pakistan.

Also in 2010, landslides in the Rio de Janeiro area triggered by heavy rains caused at least 45 deaths. Twenty-two died when one slide struck the Angra dos Reis resort.

In 2011, 21 people were killed by a car bomb outside an Egyptian Coptic Christian church in Alexandria.

Also in 2011, the Ivory Coast prime minister said his West African country was in the throes of civil war in which 200 people had died and 1,000 others were wounded in the aftermath of a disputed presidential election where both the incumbent and the challenger claimed victory.


A thought for the day: it was U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt who said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

© 2012 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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