The Almanac

United Press International

Today is Saturday, Jan. 17, the 17th day of 2004 with 349 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include American statesman, scientist and author Benjamin Franklin in 1706; British statesman David Lloyd George in 1863; Russian actor and director Konstantin Stanislavski in 1863; Mack Sennett, director of slapstick films, in 1880; gangster Al Capone in 1899; English novelist Nevil Shute in 1899; actors Bette White in 1924 (age 80), James Earl Jones in 1931 (age 73) and Sheree North in 1933 (age 71); puppeteer Shari Lewis in 1934; talk show host Maury Povich in 1939 (age 65); champion heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali in 1942 (age 62); comedian Andy Kaufman in 1949; actor David Caruso in 1956 (age 48); and comic actor Jim Carrey in 1962 (age 42).


On this date in history:

In 1806, the first baby was born in the White House, the grandson of President Thomas Jefferson.

In 1871, Andrew Hallikie received a patent for a cable car system that went into service in San Francisco in 1873.

In 1893, Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii was deposed in a bloodless revolution and a provisional government established, with annexation by the United States as its aim.

In 1917, the United States bought 50 of the Virgin Islands in the West Indies from Denmark for $25 million.

In 1950, nine bandits staged a $1.5 million robbery of a Brink's armored car in Boston.

In 1966, a U.S. B52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs collided with its refueling plane over Palomares, Spain, scattering radioactive plutonium over the area.

In 1977, convicted murderer Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in Utah, the first execution since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

In 1987, President Reagan signed a secret order permitting the covert sale of arms to Iran.

In 1990, a study concluded it is not oat bran itself, but the substitution of oat bran or other foods for high-fat foods, which cuts blood cholesterol.


In 1991, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 114.60, the second highest one-day point-gain ever.

Also in 1991, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that Florida dentist David Acer had infected three patients with the AIDS virus.

In 1993, U.S. missiles attacked an Iraqi nuclear weapons facility outside Baghdad in an effort to destroy Saddam Hussein's ability to build weapons of mass destruction.

In 1994, a pre-dawn earthquake struck the Los Angeles area, claiming 61 lives and causing widespread damage.

In 1995, a powerful earthquake rocked Kobe, Japan, and the surrounding area, killing more than 5,000 people.

In 1996, David Watkins, who wrote the memo the White House sent to Congress two weeks earlier, testified before Congress that he felt pressure from the first lady but was never actually told to fire travel office staffers.

Also in 1996, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman got life in prison and 16 others were also sentenced to jail for plotting to bomb the United Nations.

In 1998, President Clinton denied in a sworn deposition that he'd had an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.


In 2000, almost 50,000 people marched in Columbia, S.C., to protest the flying of the Confederate battle flag over the state Capitol.

In 2001, parts of California were plunged into darkness after utility companies failed to deliver enough electrical power. The rolling blackouts affected as many as 2 million people.

In 2002, the U.S. Justice Department began an international manhunt for five suspected al-Qaida members believed to be plotting a new suicide attack.

Also in 2002, the volcano on Mount Nyiragongo, near the town of Goma in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, erupted causing at least 45 deaths and leaving an estimated 55,000 people homeless.

A thought for the day: St. Augustine asked, "What, then, is time? I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me; but if I am asked what it is and try to explain, I am baffled."

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