The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Jan. 1, 2003 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, Jan. 1, the first day of 2003. There are 364 days to follow.

This is New Year's Day.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include American patriot Paul Revere in 1735; Betsy Ross, who, according to legend, 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 Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., the 1964 Republican candidate for president, in 1909; British-born Soviet master spy Harold "Kim" Philby in 1912; novelist J.D. Salinger in 1919 (age 83); and actors Dana Andrews in 1909 and Frank Langella in 1946 (age 56).

On this date in history:

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

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, declared 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 1892, Ellis Island opened in New York Harbor.

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

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

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

In 1986, Soviet television aired a five-minute greeting from President 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 and Slovak states.

In 1994, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates married Melinda French in Hawaii.

In 1995, a shaky four-month truce between the Muslim-led Bosnian government and Bosnian Serbs went into effect. Bosnia's Croat leader signed the truce the next day.

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

In 1999, the European Union's new currency, the euro, became legal tender in 11 participating countries.

In 2000, in his first day as Russia's acting president, Vladimir Putin traveled to the rebellious republic of Chechnya to visit Russian troops.

In 2002, in the largest U.S. ground operation of the war on terrorism at that point, 200 Marines began a two-day swept through deserted training camps in southern Afghanistan but found none of the terrorist leaders.

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

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

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