The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Jan. 4, 2002 at 4:45 AM
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Today is Friday, Jan. 4, the fourth day of 2002, with 361 to follow.

The moon is waning, moving toward its last quarter.

The morning star is Jupiter.

The evening stars are Mars and Saturn.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include folklore and fairy tale collector Jakob Grimm in 1785; teacher of the blind Louis Braille in 1809; shorthand writing system inventor Isaac Pitman in 1813; Charles Stratton, the midget known as Gen. Tom Thumb, in 1838; Sen. Everett Dirksen, R-Ill., in 1896; actress Jane Wyman in 1914 (age 88); Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and player Don Shula in 1930 (age 72); boxer Floyd Patterson in 1935 (age 67); actress Dyan Cannon in 1937 (age 65); author and former first daughter Maureen Reagan in 1941; R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe in 1960 (age 42); and actors Dave Foley in 1963 (age 39) and Julia Ormond in 1965 (age 37).

On this date in history:

In 1885, Dr. William Grant of Davenport, Iowa, performed the first appendectomy. His patient recovered.

In 1893, President Benjamin Harrison granted amnesty to all persons who since Nov. 1, 1890, had abstained from practicing polygamy. It was part of a deal for Utah to achieve statehood.

In 1936, Billboard magazine published the first pop music chart.

In 1951, Chinese and North Korean forces captured the South Korean capital of Seoul.

In 1974, President Nixon refused to release any more of the 500 documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.

In 1985, Israel confirmed that 10,000 Ethiopian Jews had been flown to Israel. Ethiopia termed the operation "a gross interference" in its affairs.

In 1990, deposed Panamanian Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega appeared in federal court in Miami.

Also in 1990, Charles Stuart, who said he and his pregnant wife had been shot after leaving a Boston birthing class in October 1989, committed suicide as police closed in to arrest him for the deaths of his wife and child.

In 1993, 25 people, including 18 Americans, were killed when their tour bus traveling on a rain-slick highway near Cancun, Mexico, crashed into a utility pole and burned.

In 1994, Mexican government troops are sent into the southeastern state of Chiapas to quell a rebellion by the previously unknown Zapatista National Liberation Army (ZNLA).

Also in 1994, several Eastern European nations asked to join NATO.

In 1995, the 104th Congress convened with Republicans in control in both houses for the first time since 1953. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan, became Senate Majority Leader and Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga, was elected Speaker of the House.

Also in 1995, CBS quoted the mother of House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., calling first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton a "bitch."

In 2000, President Clinton nominated Alan Greenspan to a fourth four-year term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

A thought for the day: it was Frederick Douglass who wrote, "Without a struggle, there can be no progress."

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