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The almanac

By United Press International   |   July 20, 2012 at 3:30 AM   |   Comments

Today is Friday, July 20, the 202nd day of 2012 with 164 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include Austrian monk and pioneering botanist Gregor Johann Mendel in 1822; New Zealand explorer Edmund Hillary, who in 1953 reached the summit of Mount Everest, in 1919; Elliot Richardson, attorney general under U.S. President Richard Nixon, in 1920; actors Sally Ann Howes in 1930 (age 82), Diana Rigg (age 74) and Natalie Wood, both in 1938; singer Kim Carnes in 1945 (age 67); guitarist Carlos Santana in 1947 (age 65), and actors Donna Dixon in 1957 (age 55), Sandra Oh in 1971 (age 41) and Omar Epps in 1973 (age 39).


On this date in history:

In 1859, American baseball fans were charged an admission fee for the first time when 1,500 spectators each paid 50 cents to see Brooklyn play New York.

In 1881, five years after U.S. Army Gen. George A. Custer's defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Sioux leader Sitting Bull surrendered to the army which promised amnesty for him and his followers.

In 1945, the U.S. flag was raised over Berlin as the first U.S. troops moved in to take part in the post-World War II occupation.

In 1940, Billboard magazine published its first "Music Popularity Chart," topped by "I'll Never Smile Again" by the Tommy Dorsey orchestra with Frank Sinatra.

In 1951, while entering a mosque in the Jordanian sector of east Jerusalem, King Abdullah of Jordan was assassinated by a Palestinian nationalist.

In 1968, the first Special Olympics Games were contested at Soldier Field in Chicago.

In 1969, U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon.

In 1976, the Viking 1 lander, an unmanned U.S. planetary probe, became the first spacecraft to successfully land on the surface of Mars.

In 1985, treasure hunter Mel Fisher located a Spanish galleon sunk by a 1622 hurricane off Key West, Fla. It contained $400 million worth of treasure.

In 1989, U.S. President George H.W. Bush called for the United States to organize a long-range space program to support an orbiting space station, a moon base and a manned mission to Mars.

In 1992, seven people were killed when a test model of the Marine Corps' V-22 Osprey transport aircraft crashed into the Potomac River.

In 1993, White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster was found shot to death in a park in northern Virginia. His death was ruled a suicide.

In 2005, China said it planned to stop tying the value of its currency, the yuan, to the U.S. dollar.

Also in 2005, the U.S. Justice Department activated its online National Sex Offender Public Registry, linking the registries of 22 states.

In 2006, U.S. President George W. Bush received a kind reception and applause from the NAACP in his first address to the nation's oldest civil rights organization as president. He had turned down five previous invitations to speak.

In 2008, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the economic slowdown will "go on for a while" but the economy is fundamentally sound. He said what he called "the housing correction" was at the heart of the overall slowdown, along with turmoil in capital markets and high oil prices.

Also in 2008, nine police officers were killed by friendly fire in southwestern Afghanistan. An Afghan army general said the police were mistaken for Taliban militants and died in an airstrike conducted by U.S. and Afghan forces.

In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama's public approval rating for handling healthcare reform dropped to less than 50 percent, a Washington Post/ABC News poll indicated.

Also in 2009, violent crime rates unexpectedly plunged in major cities across the United States, officials said. Washington. New York and Los Angeles led the pack, approaching 40-year homicide lows.

In 2010, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt were about to land in Kabul for a summit when rocket fire on the airport forced the plane to be diverted. There was no further problem other than being late for the meeting.

In 2011, U.S. law enforcement deaths rose sharply in the first half of 2011, including 40 officers killed by gunfire -- a 20-year high, officials said. Overall, 98 officers died in the line of duty during the period, a 14 percent jump.

Also in 2011, International Tribunal officials announced the arrest of Goran Hadzic, the last Serbian leader wanted for war crimes.

And, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed budget bills into law, putting the state back in business after a nearly 3-week shutdown.


A thought for the day: in "Hamlet," Shakespeare wrote, "Brevity is the soul of wit." But it was Dorothy Parker who said, "Brevity is the soul of lingerie."

© 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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