The Almanac

By United Press International

Today is Sunday, March 9, the 68th day of 2003 with 297 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include Leland Stanford, railroad builder and founder of California's Stanford University, in 1824; English novelist and poet Victoria Sackville-West in 1892; composer Samuel Barber in 1910; detective novelist Mickey Spillane in 1918 (age 85); Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, in 1934; actors Joyce Van Patten in 1934 (age 69) and Marty Ingles in 1936 (age 67); country singer Mickey Gilley also in 1936 (age 67); actors Raul Julia in 1940 and Trish Van Deere in 1943 (age 60); former world chess champion Bobby Fischer in 1943 (age 60); actresses Linda Fiorentino ("Men In Black") in 1960 (age 43) and Juliette Binoche ("The English Patient") in 1964 (age 39); football player Brian Bosworth in 1965 (age 38); and actor Emmanuel Lewis in 1971 (age 32).


On this date in history:

In 1796, French general and future emperor Napoleon Bonaparte married Josephine de Beauharnais.

In 1862, the ironclad ships the Union's Monitor and the Confederate's Merrimac (renamed the Virginia) battled to a draw off Hampton Roads, Va.

In 1864, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was appointed commander in chief of Union forces in the Civil War.

In 1945, 343 American bombers carrying all the incendiary bombs they could hold bombed Tokyo. The attack and resulting fires leveled 16 square miles of the Japanese capital, destroyed more than a quarter-of-a-million buildings and killed 83,000 people.

In 1959, Barbie, the popular doll, debuted in stores.

In 1967, the daughter of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, Svetlana, defected to the United States.

In 1986, the module containing the bodies of the seven astronauts killed in the January 28th explosion of the shuttle Challenger was located off Florida.

In 1989, the Senate voted 53-47 against confirming John Tower as secretary of defense.

Also in 1989, William Bennett was confirmed by the Senate as the nation's first Cabinet-level drug czar.


In 1990, Haitian dictator Gen. Prosper Avril stepped down from power under pressure and the military agreed to turn the nation over to civilian rule.

In 1991, Israeli troops fired on Palestinian protesters in the occupied Gaza Strip, wounding 55.

In 1992, a federal judge in New York announced a final $1.3 billion agreement to settle the civil suits growing out of the 1989 collapse of Drexel Burham Lambert Inc., once the most powerful firm on Wall Street.

In 1993, gunmen linked to the former Contra rebels stormed the Nicaraguan Embassy in Costa Rica and took the ambassador and at least 18 others hostage.

Also in 1993, Rodney King testified in the federal trial of four Los Angeles police officers who were videotaped beating and kicking him.

In 1996, Los Angeles police Detective Mark Furman began his testimony at the O.J. Simpson double murder trial.

In 2000, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) formally withdrew from the presidential race but did not endorse fellow Republican George W. Bush.

A thought for the day: Napoleon said, ""History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon."

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