The almanac

By United Press International   |   Feb. 27, 2013 at 3:30 AM

Today is Wednesday Feb. 27, the 58th day of 2013 with 307 to follow.

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

Those born on this day are under the sign of Pisces. They include poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1807; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in 1886; David Sarnoff, RCA board chairman and father of American television, in 1891; actor William Demarest in 1892; soprano Marian Anderson in 1897; novelist John Steinbeck and golf legend Gene Sarazen, both in 1902; actor Joan Bennett in 1910; former Texas Gov. John Connally in 1917; actors Joanne Woodward in 1930 (age 83), Elizabeth Taylor in 1932, Barbara Babcock in 1937 (age 76); Howard Hesseman in 1940 (age 73) and Mary Frann in 1943; consumer activist Ralph Nader in 1934 (age 79); physicist Alan Guth in 1947 (age 66); actors Timothy Spall in 1957 (age 56) and Adam Baldwin in 1962 (age 51); former first daughter Chelsea Clinton in 1980 (age 33); and singer Josh Groban in 1981 (age 32).

On this date in history:

In 1844, the Dominican Republic was granted independence from Haiti.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler's Nazis set fire to the German Parliament building in Berlin, blamed it on the communists and made that an excuse to suspend German civil liberties and freedom of the press.

In 1942, opening salvos were fired in the Battle of the Java Sea, during which 13 U.S. warships were sunk by the Japanese, who lost two.

In 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, limiting presidents to two terms, was ratified.

In 1964, the Italian government asked for suggestions on how to save the renowned 180-foot Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling.

In 1974, the first issue of People magazine was published.

In 1982, an Atlanta jury convicted Wayne Williams of killing two of 28 young blacks whose deaths over a two-year period had shaken the city. Williams was sentenced to life in prison.

In 1990, the Soviet Parliament approved creation of a U.S.-style presidential system that gave Mikhail Gorbachev broad powers and established direct popular elections for the post.

Also in 1990, a federal grand jury in Alaska indicted Exxon Corp. and its shipping subsidiary over the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

In 1991, allied troops liberated Kuwait City.

In 1992, Elizabeth Taylor celebrated her 60th birthday by closing Disneyland for an elaborate private party with her celebrity friends.

In 1994, the 17th Winter Olympic Games ended in Lillehammer, Norway.

In 1998, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record of 8,545.72, the first time it closed at more than 8,500.

In 1999, Nigeria's transition to civilian rule was nearly completed with the election of Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military leader, as president.

In 2003, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein denied Baghdad had connections with al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden and Iraq would set fire to its oil fields and blow up its dams in response to a U.S.-led invasion.

In 2004, two studies commissioned by the U.S. Roman Catholic church showed at least 4 percent of priests were involved in child sexual abuse from 1950-2002, with the peak year 1970 in which 10 percent of priests eventually were accused of abuse.

In 2005, the United Nations took a step to curtail worldwide smoking by announcing its tough tobacco control treaty had gone into effect.

In 2007, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, identified as the target by the Taliban, escaped injury when a suicide bomber set off a device outside U.S. Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Twenty-three people were killed in the attack.

In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama told Marines in Camp Lejeune, N.C., he intended to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010. He said as many as 50,000 troops would remain there for smaller missions and to train Iraqi soldiers.

Also in 2009, revised data indicated the U.S. gross domestic product, the measure of a nation's total economic activity, contracted 6.2 percent during October-December 2008, biggest drop since 1982.

In 2010, an earthquake registering 8.8 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of Chile, killing close to 600 people and destroying or heavily damaging nearly 500,000 homes.

In 2011, nine foreign journalists, including a U.S. reporter who suffered a broken rib covering a planned protest in China, were beaten.

Also in 2011, lawmakers in Arizona, Texas and several other states considered proposals to allow guns in the classroom. Only Utah permitted firearms on school campuses at the time.

In 2012, a fire sent the Italian Costa Allegra cruise ship adrift off the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. The more than 1,000 passengers were reported safe. Costa Allegra is part of the same fleet as the Costa Concordia, which ran aground Jan. 13, killing at least 25 people.

A thought for the day: Marian Anderson, saying she had forgiven the Daughters of the American Revolution for withdrawing its invitation to perform because she was black, said, "You lose a lot of time hating people."

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