The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Nov. 17, 2004 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, Nov. 17, the 322nd day of 2004 with 44 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include King Louis XVIII of France in 1755; German astronomer and mathematician August Mobius in 1790; social reformer Grace Abbott in 1878; British Army Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in 1887; drama teacher Lee Strasberg in 1901; actor Rock Hudson in 1925; balladeer Gordon Lightfoot in 1938 (age 66); film director Martin Scorsese in 1942 (age 62); actor/director Danny DeVito, "Saturday Night Live" producer Loren Michaels and model/actress Lauren Hutton, all in 1944 (age 60); actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in 1958 (age 46); transexual model/actor RuPaul in 1960 (age 4); and MTV veejay Daisy Fuentes in 1966 (age 38).

On this date in history:

In 1734, John Peter Zenger, who founded America's first regularly published newspaper, was arrested for libeling the colonial governor of New York.

In 1800, Congress convened in Washington, D.C., for the first time.

In 1869, the Suez Canal in Egypt was opened, linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

In 1881, Samuel Gompers organized the forerunner of the American Federation of Labor.

In 1969, the strategic arms limitation talks, also known as SALT, began between the United States and the Soviet Union in Helsinki, Finland.

In 1989, riot police in Prague, Czechoslovakia, stormed into a crowd of more than 20,000 pro-democracy demonstrators, beating people with truncheons and firing tear gas.

In 1992, an appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled the Watergate tapes and Nixon presidential papers rightfully belonged to the disgraced president when he left office in 1974, so the government owes him compensation for passing a law taking control of them.

In 1993, the House approved the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Also in 1993, Nigeria Defense Minister Gen. Sani Abacha announced he had dissolved the government and declared himself the nation's ruler.

In 1994, Ireland's Prime Minister Albert Reynolds resigned as lawmakers were about to take a no-confidence vote on his coalition government.

In 1996, debris from a failed Russian Mars probe fell into the sea.

In 1997, 60 people were killed when six Islamic militants opened fire on a group of tourists at Luxor, Egypt. A three-hour gun battle claimed 10 more lives, including those of the gunmen.

In 2001, an Atlanta man, Michael Lasseter, presented the first major test of America's increased airport security adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks when he created a major disturbance by bolting up a crowded down escalator. He was arrested and Hartsfield International Airport, one of the world's busiest, was closed for four hours.

In 2002, Abba Eban, a long-time government official who argued before the United Nations for the formation of the state of Israel and was later the country's ambassador to the UN and the United States, died at the age of 87.

Also in 2002, the first thorough examination of many of President John F. Kennedy's medical records found he was in far greater pain and taking many more medications than the public knew at the time.

In 2003, accused Washington sniper John Muhammad was convicted of capital murder by a jury in Virginia Beach, Va. The state is seeking the death penalty.

A thought for the day: As Jane Ace put it, "Time wounds all heels."

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