Today is Saturday, March 13, the 73rd day of 2004 with 293 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Neptune, Uranus and Pluto. The evening stars are Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include English chemist Joseph Priestly, the discoverer of oxygen, in 1733; astronomer Percival Lowell in 1855; publisher Walter Annenberg in 1908; L. Ron Hubbard, science fiction writer and founder of the Church of Scientology, in 1911; CIA Director William Casey and bandleader Sammy Kaye, both in 1913; Helen "Callaghan" Candaele Saint Aubin, known as the "Ted Williams of women's baseball," in 1929; singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka in 1939 (age 65); and actors William H. Macy in 1950 (age 54) and Dana Delany in 1956 (age 48).
On this date in history:
In 1781, the distant planet Uranus was discovered by British astronomer William Herschel.
In 1868, the U.S. Senate began impeachment proceedings against President Andrew Johnson on charges of "high crimes and misdemeanors." He was acquitted by one vote.
In 1881, Czar Alexander II, the ruler of Russia since 1855, is killed in the streets of St. Petersburg by a bomb thrown by a member of the revolutionary "People's Will" group.
In 1887, Chester Greenwood of Maine received a patent for earmuffs.
In 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, banks throughout the United States began to re-open after a weeklong bank holiday declared by President Roosevelt in a successful effort to stop runs on bank assets.
In 1943, a plot by disillusioned German officers to kill Hitler by blowing up his plane failed.
In 1974, the oil-producing Arab countries agreed to lift their five-month embargo on petroleum sales to the United States. The embargo, during which gasoline prices soared 300 percent, was in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel during the October 1973 Middle East War.
In 1989, the Food and Drug Administration quarantined all fruit imported from Chile after traces of cyanide were found in two Chilean grapes.
In 1990, the Soviet Congress of People's Deputies formally ended the Communist Party's monopoly rule, establishing a presidential system and giving Mikhail Gorbachev broad new powers.
Also in 1990, President Bush lifted a five-year-old trade embargo against Nicaragua.
In 1992, more than 400 people were killed when a powerful earthquake hit northeastern Turkey.
In 1993, an "unprecedented" winter storm blasts the eastern part of the nation from Dixie north to Canada -- crippling travel, causing power failures, floods and tornadoes, and killing dozens of people.
In 1994, the president of the independent black homeland of Bophuthatswana was deposed after repeatedly changing his mind about allowing his nation to participate in the upcoming South African elections. South Africa took direct control of the area.
In 1996, a gun collector opened fire on a kindergarten class in Dunblane, Scotland -- killing 16 children, their teacher and then himself.
Also in 1996, Liggett, the fifth-biggest tobacco company, broke ranks with its rivals and settled a class-action cancer lawsuit.
And in 1996, world leaders -- including President Clinton, Russia's Boris Yeltsin, King Hussein of Jordan and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat -- met in Cairo, Egypt, to reaffirm the Middle East peace process.
In 1997, a Jordanian soldier shot and killed seven Israeli schoolgirls at the Israeli-Jordanian border.
In 1998, Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney, the first black ever to serve as sergeant major of the Army, was acquitted by a military jury of all sex charges filed against him. He was, however, convicted of coaching a witness and was reduced one rank and reprimanded.
In 1999, a fight for the heavyweight boxing championship of the world -- between American Evander Holyfield and Lennex Lewis of Britain -- ended in a draw, although most fans and boxing officials felt Lewis had clearly won.
In 2000, the Tribune Co. and the Times Mirror Co., two of the nation's oldest and largest newspapers, announced they would merge.
In 2001, the United States banned all imports of animals or animal products from all 15 European Union countries to prevent the spread of "foot-and-mouth" disease.
In 2003, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein refused to talk with Arab foreign ministers about avoiding war with the United States
A thought for the day: William Casey was quoted as saying, "I pass the test that says a man who isn't a socialist at 20 has no heart, and a man who is a socialist at 40 has no head."