The Almanac

By United Press International  |  July 20, 2004 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Tuesday, July 20, the 202nd day of 2004 with 164 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include silent movie queen Theda Bara in 1890; New Zealand explorer Sir Edmund Hillary, who in 1953 conquered Mount Everest, in 1919 (age 85); Elliot Richardson, U.S. attorney general under President Nixon, in 1920 (age 84); actresses Sally Ann Howes in 1934 (age 70), and Diana Rigg (age 66) and Natalie Wood, both in 1938; singer Kim Carnes in 1945 (age 59); guitarist Carlos Santana in 1947 (age 57); and actress Donna Dixon in 1957 (age 47).

On this date in history:

In 1859, American baseball fans were charged an admission fee for the first time. 1,500 spectators each paid 50 cents to see Brooklyn play New York.

In 1881, five years after General George A. Custer's defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Sioux leader Sitting Bull surrendered to the U.S. Army which promised amnesty for him and his followers.

In 1945, the U.S. flag was raised over Berlin as the first American troops moved in to take part in the post-World War II occupation.

In 1940, Billboard magazine published its first "Music Popularity Chart," topped by "I'll Never Smile Again" by the Tommy Dorsey orchestra with Frank Sinatra on the vocal.

In 1951, while entering a mosque in the Jordanian sector of east Jerusalem, King Abdullah of Jordan was assassinated by a Palestinian nationalist.

In 1968, the first Special Olympics Games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago.

In 1969, U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon.

In 1976, on the seventh anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, the Viking 1 lander, an unmanned U.S. planetary probe, became the first spacecraft to successfully land on the surface of Mars.

In 1985, treasure hunter Mel Fisher located a Spanish galleon sunk by a 1622 hurricane off Key West, Fla. It contained $400 million worth of treasure.

In 1989, President Bush called for the United States to organize a long-range space program to support an orbiting space station, a Moon base and a manned mission to Mars.

In 1990, Justice William Brennan, 84, resigned after 34 years on Supreme Court, citing age and ill health.

Also in 1990, a federal appeals court set aside Oliver North's conviction on three charges in the Iran-Contra case.

In 1991, Peruvian evidence showed former President Garcia transferred to the Panamanian branch of BCCI as much as $50 million of government funds for private use.

In 1992, seven people were killed when a test model of the Marine Corps' controversial V-22 Osprey transport aircraft crashed into the Potomac River.

Also in 1992, the so-called "bearded bandit" charged in a series of Chicago-area bank robberies grabbed a gun and opened fire on his guards, killing two before turning the weapon on himself.

In 1993, deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster was found shot to death in a park in northern Virginia. His death was ruled a suicide.

Also in 1993, the Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings into the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She would be confirmed.

In 1994, the Bosnian Serb leadership rejected a plan backed by the major countries that would've given them 49 percent of Bosnian territory.

In 1995, the California Board of Regents voted 14-10 to end consideration of race, sex, religion, color, or national origin to the admission of students to state colleges and universities. The board also voted, 15-10, to end affirmative action in the hiring of faculty and awarding of contracts.

In 2003, on the 34th anniversary of his historic feat, Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, paid homage to the men who made it possible, Orville and Wilbur Wright, in a ceremony saluting the 100th anniversary of their legendary flight.

Also in 2003, a charter plane crashed on Mount Kenya, killing 12 American tourists and two South African crewmembers.

And, in 2003 sports, Ben Curtis became the first golfer to win a "major" tournament on his first try when he scored a big upset in winning the British Open.

A thought for the day: in "Hamlet," Shakespeare wrote, "Brevity is the soul of wit." But it was Dorothy Parker who said, "Brevity is the soul of lingerie."

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