The Almanac

By United Press International   |   Feb. 21, 2003 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, Feb. 21, the 52nd day of 2003 with 313 to follow.

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

Those born on this day are under the sign of Pisces. They include Mexican revolutionary and military commander Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in 1794; Roman Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman in 1801; German bacteriologist August von Wasserman, who developed the blood test for syphilis, in 1866; Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi in 1876; poet and author W.H. Auden in 1907; filmmaker Sam Peckinpah in 1925; humorist Erma Bombeck in 1927; actors Rue McClanahan in 1936 (age 67), Gary Lockwood in 1937 (age 66), and Tyne Daly in 1947 (age 56); record company executive David Geffen in 1944 (age 59); Tricia Nixon Cox, daughter of former President Nixon, in 1946 (age 57); actors Kelsey Grammer in 1955 (age 48), Christopher Atkins in 1961 (age 42), William Baldwin in 1963 (age 40), and Jennifer Love Hewitt in 1979 (age 24); and singer Charlotte Church in 1986 (age 17).

On this date in history:

In 1828, a printing press later used to print the first newspaper for American Indians arrived at the Cherokee Council in Echota, Ga.

In 1878, the New Haven, Conn., Telephone Company published the first phone directory. It listed 50 subscribers.

In 1885, the Washington Monument, a 555-foot-high marble obelisk built in honor of America's revolutionary hero and first president, was dedicated in Washington, D.C.

In 1916, the Germans launched the Battle of Verdun, World War I's single longest battle. It lasted until Dec. 15, 1916, and left more than one million soldiers on both sides dead.

In 1934, Nicaraguan guerrilla leader Cesar Augusto Sandino was murdered by members of the Nicaraguan National Guard and became a martyr.

In 1965, Black Muslim leader Malcolm X was assassinated at a rally in New York City.

In 1989, opening arguments began in the Iran-Contra criminal trial of former national security aide Oliver North.

In 1992, CIA Director Gates said his agency would "cooperate fully and willingly" with any government effort to declassify documents relating to the Kennedy assassination.

Also in 1992, actor Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman, produced an anti-drug video, fulfilling his sentence on a 1991 indecent exposure charge.

In 1993, two 10-year-old boys were charged with abducting and killing a two-year-old boy in a crime that shocked Britain and the world.

In 1994, longtime CIA counterintelligence officer Aldrich Ames and his wife were arrested and charged with selling information to the Soviet Union and Russia.

In 1995, a Russian commission estimated as many as 24,400 civilians had died in the two-month uprising in the separatist republic of Chechnya.

In 2001, the investigation into the last-minute presidential pardons granted by Bill Clinton widened with word that Clinton's brother-in-law had been paid to lobby (successfully) for the pardons of two convicted felons and that Clinton's half-brother, Roger, himself the recipient of a presidential pardon, had sought pardons for six other people.

In 2002, a former Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to prison for child molestation as a widening scandal involving alleged sexual abuse of children by priests brought anguish to the church worldwide.

A thought for the day: David Russell said, "The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn."

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