The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Jan. 20, 2003 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, Jan. 20, the 20th day of 2003 with 345 to follow.

The Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday is observed today.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include Harold Gray, creator of the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie," in 1894; comedian George Burns in 1896; Italian film director Federico Fellini and actor DeForest Kelley, both in 1920; country singer Otis "Slim" Whitman in 1924 (age 79); actress Patricia Neal in 1926 (age 77); astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon, in 1930 (age 73); comic Artie Johnson in 1934 (age 69); director David Lynch in 1946 (age 57); TV host Bill Maher ("Politically Incorrect") in 1956 (age 47); and actor Lorenzo Lamas in 1958 (age 45).

On this date in history:

In 1265, Britain's House of Commons, which became a model for parliamentary bodies, met for the first time.

In 1783, U.S. and British representatives signed a preliminary "Cessation of Hostilities," which ended the fighting in the Revolutionary War.

In 1892, the first officially recognized basketball game was played at the YMCA gym in Springfield, Mass. The game was invented by Dr. James Naismith.

In 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only president to be elected to four terms in office, was inaugurated to his final term. He died three months later and was succeeded by his vice president, Harry Truman.

In 1961, John Fitzgerald Kennedy began his presidency with inauguration ceremonies on the newly renovated east front of the Capitol.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th president of the United States. That same day, 52 American hostages were released by Iran after 444 days in captivity.

In 1990, at least 62 civilians were killed and more than 200 wounded when the Soviet army stormed into Baku to end what Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called fratricidal killing between Moslem Azerbaijanis and Christian Armenians.

In 1991, seven men identified as allied airmen captured during the Persian Gulf War were put on Iraqi television in Baghdad.

In 1993, Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd president of the United States.

Also in 1993, Oscar-winning actress Audrey Hepburn died of cancer at her home in Switzerland. She was 63.

In 1995, the United States announced it was easing the trade embargo in effect against North Korea since the Korean War.

Also in 1995, a strike-shortened National Hockey League season opened, with teams playing a 48-game schedule instead of the usual 84.

In 1996, Yasser Arafat was elected president of the Palestinian Authority, with 88 percent of the vote.

In 1997, President Clinton was inaugurated for his second term in office.

Also in 1997, millionaire Steve Fossett landed in northern India after a record-setting bid to become the first person to circle the globe in a hot-air balloon.

In 2000, Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., warned the U.N. Security Council that the United States would withdraw from the world body if it failed to respect American sovereignty.

In 2001, George W. Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd president of the United States.

Also in 2001, just hours before leaving office, President Clinton issued 176 pardons -- a number of them controversial.

A thought for the day: Henry David Thoreau wrote, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

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