The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Jan. 24, 2003 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, Jan. 24, the 24th day of 2003 with 341 to follow.

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 the Roman Emperor Hadrian in A.D. 76; English dramatist William Congreve in 1670; Frederick the Great of Prussia in 1712; British social reformer Sir Edwin Chadwick in 1800; author Edith Wharton in 1862; abstract painter Robert Motherwell in 1915; former sportscaster Jack Brickhouse in 1916; actor Ernest Borgnine in 1917 (age 86); evangelist Oral Roberts in 1918 (age 85); ballet dancer Maria Tallchief Paschen in 1925 (age 78); singers Neil Diamond and Aaron Neville, both in 1941 (age 62); comedian John Belushi in 1949; actor Michael Ontkean in 1950 (age 53); comedian Yakov Smirnoff in 1951 (age 52); actress Nastassja Kinksi in 1960 (age 43); and Olympic gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton in 1968 (age 35).

On this date in history:

In 1848, gold was discovered at John Sutter's mill near Sacramento, Calif. The discovery touched off the great gold rush of 1849.

In 1908, the first Boy Scout troop was organized in England by Sir Robert Baden-Powell, a general in the British Army. The Boy Scout movment spread to the United States two years later.

In 1916, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled an income tax was unconstitutional.

In 1935, beer was sold in cans for the first time, in Richmond, Va.

In 1965, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill died at age 91.

In 1990, Soviet forces shelled merchant ships blockading the harbor in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.

In 1991, Saudi jet fighters shot down the first enemy planes of the Persian Gulf War, while U.S. forces sank an Iraqi minesweeper and forced Iraqi troops off an island near Kuwait.

In 1993, retired Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black to serve on the nation's highest court, died of cardiac arrest at age 84.

Also in 1993, Thomas A. Dorsey, known as the father of gospel music for adding rhythm to church hymns, died at age 93.

In 1994, a federal judge upheld a subpoena from the Senate Ethics Committee for the diaries of Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., who was facing allegations of sexual harassment and other possible misconduct.

Also in 1994, President Clinton nominated Deputy Defense Secretary William Perry to be defense secretary.

In 1995, New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman delivered the Republican response to President Clinton's State of the Union address, becoming the first governor and the first woman to give such a reply.

Also in 1995, opening statements began in the double-murder trial of O.J. Simpson in Los Angeles.

In 1996, the fat substitute Olestra was approved for sale by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In 1999, the International Olympic Committee voted to expel six IOC members in the wake of charges that committee members had accepted money and other compensation from officials whose cities were bidding to host the Olympic games.

Also in 1999, Jordan's King Hussein, who was seriously ill, named his son Abdullah as crown prince. Abdullah replaced his father's younger brother as successor to the throne.

In 2002, John Walker Lindh, the 20-year-old American seized with the Taliban in Afghanistan, appeared in an Alexandria, Va., court to hear the charges against him. He was accused conspiring to kill Americans and helping terrorist groups.

Also in 2002, committees from both houses of Congress began public hearings into the bankruptcy of the Enron Corporation.

A thought for the day: "When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do." William Blake said that.

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