The Almanac

By United Press International

Today is Sunday, Feb. 23, the 54th day of 2003 with 311 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 German composer George Frederick Handel in 1685; Meyer Amschel Rothschild, European banker and founder of the Rothschild financial dynasty, in 1743; black writer and philosopher W.E.B. DuBois in 1868; film director Victor Fleming in 1883; journalist-author William Shirer in 1904; journalist Sylvia Chase in 1938 (age 65); actor Peter Fonda in 1939 (age 64); rock musician Johnny Winter, brother of Edgar Winter, in 1944 (age 59); and actress Patricia Richardson ("Home Improvement") in 1951 (age 52).


On this date in history:

In 1942, a Japanese submarine surfaced off the coast of California and fired 25 shells at an oil refinery near Santa Barbara.

In 1945, six members of the 5th Division of the U.S. Marines planted an American flag atop Mount Suribachi on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima.

In 1982, Canada, Japan and the Common Market nations of Europe joined the United States in economic and diplomatic sanctions against Poland and the Soviet Union, to protest imposition of martial law in Poland.

In 1989, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 11-9 to reject John Tower's nomination as secretary of defense.

In 1991, military forces in Thailand overthrew the elected government and imposed martial law.

In 1992, the Winter Olympics ended in Albertville, France, with the Unified Team defeating Canada to capture the ice hockey gold medal.

In 1993, it was announced that the new host of PBS's "Masterpiece Theater" would be New York Times columnist and best-selling humorist Russell Baker. He replaced Alistair Cooke, who retired after 22 years.

In 1994, Bosnia's warring Croats and Muslims signed a cease-fire agreement. The Croats agreed to pull back from the Muslim city of Mostar, which had been under siege.


In 1995, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 4,000 for the first time -- at 4003.33.

Also in 1995, at a campaign dinner in Dallas, Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, raised $4.1 million -- believed to be a record for such an event. The next day, he announced his candidacy for president.

In 1996, two sons-in-law of Saddam Hussein, who had fled Iraq to exile in Jordan, returned after being pardoned and told they'd be safe back home. The next day, they were killed -- within hours of an Iraqi government announcement that their wives, Saddam's daughters, had sought and been granted divorces.

In 1997, Scottish scientists introduced Dolly the cloned sheep to the world. She was the first mammal ever successfully cloned from a cell from an adult animal.

Also in 1997, a gunman shot and killed a tourist from Denmark and wounded six other people on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. He then turned the gun on himself. The gunman was later identified as a Palestinian teacher who, in a letter found on his body, said his plan was to murder as many "Zionists" as he could in New York City.


In 1998, a series of tornadoes raked central Florida, killing 42 people and injuring more than 200.

In 1999, a jury in Jasper, Texas, convicted self-described white supremacist John King in the June 1998 brutal murder of a black man who'd been dragged to his death behind a pickup truck. King was sentenced to death two days later.

A thought for the day: Ben Sweetland said, "We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."

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