The Almanac

By United Press International  |  March 30, 2002 at 6:01 AM
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Today is Saturday, March 30, the 89th day of 2002 with 276 to follow.

The moon is waning, moving toward its last quarter.

The morning star is Mercury.

The evening stars are Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include Spanish painter Francisco Jose de Goya in 1746; English author Anna Sewell ("Black Beauty") in 1820; English social reformer Charles Booth in 1840; Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh in 1853; Irish dramatist Sean O'Casey in 1880; former CIA Director Richard Helms and singer Frankie Laine, both in 1913 (age 89); TV host Peter Marshall in 1927 (age 75); actors Richard Dysart in 1929 (age 73), John Astin in 1930 (age 72) and Warren Beatty in 1937 (age 65); British blues/rock guitarist Eric Clapton in 1945 (age 57); actor Paul Reiser in 1957 (age 45); and singers Hammer in 1963 (age 39), Tracy Chapman in 1964 (age 38) and Celine Dion in 1968 (age 34).

On this date in history:

In 1842, Dr. Crawford Long became the first physician to use anesthetic (ether) in surgery.

In 1867, Secretary of State William Seward reached an agreement with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million in gold.

In 1923, the Cunard liner "Laconia" arrived in New York City, becoming the first passenger ship to circumnavigate the world, a cruise of 130 days.

In 1964, "Jeopardy!", the "thinking person's game show," premiered on television.

In 1975, the South Vietnamese city of Da Nang fell to North Vietnamese forces.

In 1981, President Reagan was shot and wounded by John Hinckley Jr. White House news secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent and a Washington police officer also were wounded in the incident outside a Washington hotel. Hinckley was later found not guilty by reason of insanity.

In 1990, Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus vetoed a restrictive abortion bill, ending the anti-abortion forces' goal of giving Supreme Court a chance to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

In 1992, "The Silence of the Lambs" swept the 64th annual Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, best actor for Anthony Hopkins and best actress for Jodie Foster.

In 1993, a two-state custody battle over a 2-year-old girl took a dramatic turn when the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered the child who'd been living with her custodial parents in Michigan since shortly after birth returned to her biological parents in Iowa.

Also in 1993, after 43 years, the unthinkable happened on the comic pages -- Charlie Brown was a hero when he hit a homerun and his baseball team won for the first time.

In 1995, the compromise "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" policy allowing homosexuals to serve in the military under certain conditions was struck down by a federal judge in New York as unconstitutional.

In 1997, House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he warned Chinese leaders that the United States would intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan.

In 1998, Armenian Premier Robert Kocharian was elected president in a run-off election in the former Soviet republic.

Also in 1998, the University of Kentucky Wildcats won the NCAA basketball title for the second time in three years and the seventh time overall.

In 1999, a jury in Oregon awarded $81 million dollars in damages to the family of a smoker who had died from lung cancer. The plaintiff in the case, tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris, promised to appeal. A state judge later reduced the punitive portion of the judgment to $32 million.

A thought for the day: it was Mark Twain who said, "Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed."

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