The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 29, 2004 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, Sept. 29, the 273rd day of 2004 with 93 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include Spanish poet-novelist Miguel de Cervantes, author of "Don Quixote," in 1547; British naval hero Adm. Horatio Nelson in 1758; pioneer nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi in 1901; singing cowboy Gene Autry in 1907; film directors Michelangelo Antonioni in 1912 (age 92) and Stanley Kramer in 1913; actor Trevor Howard in 1916; actress Anita Ekberg in 1931 (age 73); rock 'n' roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis in 1935 (age 69); actor Larry Linville ("M*A*S*H") in 1939; singer/actress Madeline Kahn in 1942; Polish leader Lech Walesa in 1943 (age 61); and TV personality Bryant Gumbel in 1948 (age 56).

On this date in history:

In 1789, the U.S. War Department organized America's first standing army -- 700 troops who would serve for three years.

In 1923, Britain began to govern Palestine under a League of Nations mandate.

In 1936, in the presidential race between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Alf Landon, both parties used radio for the first time.

In 1941, the Babi Yar massacre of nearly 34,000 Jewish men, women, and children began on the outskirts of Kiev in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine.

In 1986, the Soviet Union freed American journalist Nicholas Daniloff, whom Moscow accused of spying.

In 1988, Stacy Allison of Portland, Ore., became the first American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth.

In 1991, sharing power for first time in 26 years, Zaire's President Mobuto Sese Seko named opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi prime minister.

In 1992, after weeks of stalemate, President Bush, seeking reelection, challenged his Democratic opponent, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, to four debates.

Also in 1992, Brazil's President Collor became the first Latin American leader to be impeached.

And in 1992, Magic Johnson announced he was returning to the Los Angeles Lakers less than a year after he retired because he had the AIDS virus.

In 1995, Gov. Pete Wilson of California dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

In 2003, a published report said the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that most of the information provided by Iraqi defectors was worthless.

Also in 2003, electricity was restored in Italy after a weekend blackout put 57 million people in the dark.

A thought for the day: British statesman Edmund Burke said, "Superstition is the religion of simple minds."

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