The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Nov. 17, 2003 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, Nov. 17, the 321st day of 2003 with 44 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include King Louis XVIII of France in 1755; German astronomer and mathematician August Mobius in 1790; social reformer Grace Abbott in 1878; British Army Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in 1887; drama teacher Lee Strasberg in 1901; songwriter Johnny Mercer in 1909; actor Rock Hudson in 1925; balladeer Gordon Lightfoot in 1938 (age 65); film director Martin Scorsese in 1942 (age 61); actor/director Danny DeVito, "Saturday Night Live" producer Loren Michaels and model/actress Lauren Hutton, all in 1944 (age 59); actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in 1958 (age 45); transexual model/actor RuPaul in 1960 (age 43); and MTV veejay Daisy Fuentes in 1966 (age 37).

On this date in history:

In 1734, John Peter Zenger, who founded America's first regularly published newspaper, was arrested for libeling the colonial governor of New York.

In 1800, Congress convened in Washington, D.C., for the first time.

In 1869, the Suez Canal in Egypt was opened, linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

In 1881, Samuel Gompers organized the forerunner of the American Federation of Labor.

In 1969, the strategic arms limitation talks (SALT) between the United States and the Soviet Union began in Helsinki, Finland.

In 1987, a report from congressional committees investigating the Iran-Contra scandal said, "If the president did not know what his national security advisers were doing, he should have."

In 1989, riot police in Prague, Czechoslovakia, stormed into a crowd of more than 20,000 pro-democracy demonstrators, beating people with truncheons and firing tear gas.

Also in 1989, Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey signed a new abortion law, making his state the first to add new restrictions in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Webster case.

In 1991, Son Sen, former defense minister under the regime that ruled Cambodia from 1975-1979, returned to Phnom Penh.

In 1992, an appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled the Watergate tapes and Nixon presidential papers rightfully belonged to the disgraced president when he left office in 1974, so the government owes him compensation for passing a law taking control of them.

In 1993, the House approved the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Also in 1993, Nigeria Defense Minister Gen. Sani Abacha announced he had dissolved the government and declared himself the nation's ruler.

In 1994, Ireland's Prime Minister Albert Reynolds resigned as lawmakers were about to take a no-confidence vote on his coalition government.

In 1996, debris from a failed Russian Mars probe fell into the sea.

In 1997, 60 people were killed when six Islamic militants opened fire on a group of tourists at Luxor, Egypt. A three-hour gun battle claimed 10 more lives, including those of the gunmen.

In 2001, an Atlanta man, Michael Lasseter, created the first major test of America's increased airport security put into place after the Sept. 11 attacks when he violated the new rules, resulting in his arrest and the closing down of Hartsfield International Airport, one of the world's busiest, for four hours.

In 2002, Abba Eban, a long-time government official who argued before the United Nations for the formation of the state of Israel and was later the country's ambassador to the UN and the United States, died at the age of 87.

Also in 2002, the first thorough examination of many of President John F. Kennedy's medical records found he was in far greater pain and taking many more medications than the public knew at the time.

A thought for the day: As Jane Ace put it, "Time wounds all heels."

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