The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Feb. 18, 2004 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, Feb. 18, the 49th day of 2004 with 317 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include stained glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1848; 1940 Republican presidential candidate Wendell Wilkie in 1892; classical guitarist Andres Segovia in 1893; Italian automaker Enzo Ferrari in 1898; actors Jack Palance in 1920 (age 84), Barbara Hale in 1921 (age 83) and George Kennedy in 1927 (age 77); author and magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown in 1922 (age 82); novelist Toni Morrison in 1931 (age 73); filmmaker Milos Forman in 1932 (age 72); Yoko Ono, widow of John Lennon, in 1933 (age 71); actress Cybill Shepherd in 1950 (age 54); actor John Travolta in 1954 (age 50); game show hostess Vanna White in 1957 (age 47); and actors Greta Scacchi in 1960 (age 44), Matt Dillon in 1964 (age 40) and Molly Ringwald in 1968 (age 36).

On this date in history:

In 1856, The American Party, also known as the "Know-Nothing Party," nominated its first presidential candidate, former President Millard Fillmore. But, he carried only Maryland and the party soon vanished.

In 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as provisional president of the Confederate States of America.

In 1865, after a long siege, Union naval forces captured Charleston, S.C.

In 1930, Pluto, the outermost planet of the solar system, was discovered by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh.

In 1967, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the "father of the atomic bomb," died in Princeton, N.J., at the age of 62.

In 1985, after 18 weeks of testimony, Gen. William Westmoreland dropped a $120 million libel suit against CBS.

In 1991, one person was killed and 40 more injured when the IRA bombed two railroad stations in central London.

In 1992, in the New Hampshire primary, Pat Buchanan cut deeply into President Bush's margin of victory on the Republican side; Paul Tsongas was the Democratic winner.

In 1993, a ferry carrying more than 800 people capsized off Haiti's western coast, killing at least 150 people and leaving several hundred more missing and presumed drowned.

Also in 1993, a plane used by missionaries with 13 people aboard was commandeered at gunpoint in Haiti and flown to Miami, where the alleged hijacker surrendered.

And in 1993, euthanasia advocate "Dr. Death" Jack Kevorkian assisted in the suicides of two cancer patients, just three days after he helped a suburban Detroit man take his own life.

In 1994, U.S. skater Dan Jansen ended his Olympic drought with a win in the men's 1,000-meter speed-skating event at the 17th Olympic Winter Games in Norway.

In 1995, Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of assassinated civil rights leader Medgar Evers, was elected chairwoman of the NAACP.

In 1996, a second IRA bomb exploded, on a bus in London -- killing one and injuring nine.

In 2001, a 25-year veteran of the FBI, Robert Hanssen, was arrested at a park near his suburban Washington home and charged with spying for the Russians.

Also in 2001, Dale Earnhardt Sr., stock-car racing's top driver, was killed in a crash in the final turn of the final lap of the Daytona 500. He was 49.

In 2003, around 200 people died and many more were hurt in a South Korea subway fire set by a man authorities say apparently was upset at his doctors.

A thought for the day: George Washington said, "Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected."

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