The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Jan. 26, 2005 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, Jan. 26, the 26th day of 2005 with 339 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include French philosopher Claude Helvetius in 1715; Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1880; author Philip Jose Farmer in 1918 (age 87); actor Paul Newman in 1925 (age 80); singer Eartha Kitt (age 77) and French film director Roger Vadim, both in 1928; cartoonist, playwright and author Jules Feiffer in 1929 (age 76); sports personality Bob Uecker in 1935 (age 70); actor Scott Glenn in 1942 (age 63); political activist Angela Davis in 1944 (age 61); film critic Gene Siskel in 1946; rock musician Eddie Van Halen in 1957 (age 48); comedian Ellen DeGeneres in 1958 (age 47); and former hockey star Wayne Gretzky in 1961 (age 44).

On this date in history:

In 1788, the first shipload of British convicts arrived in Australia. The establishment of an Australian prison colony was aimed at relieving overcrowding in British prisons.

In 1875, the electric dental drill was patented by George Green of Kalamazoo, Mich.

In 1918, to promote food conservation during wartime, the U.S. government called for one meatless day, two wheatless days and two porkless days each week.

In 1950, India ceased to be a British dominion and became the Republic of India, most populous democracy in the world.

In 1980, six Americans who were hidden for three months in the Canadian Embassy in Tehran were smuggled out of Iran by Canadian diplomats.

In 1988, Australians marked their bicentennial with celebrations and a re-enactment of the arrival in 1788 of the first shipload of prisoners from England.

In 1990, hurricane-force winds pounded the British Isles and much of Northern Europe, killing at least 92 people and knocking out power to nearly 1 million people.

In 1991, Iraq fired Scuds at Israel and Saudi Arabia, but most were intercepted by Patriot missiles.

In 1995, the House passed a constitutional amendment that would have required Congress, beginning in 2002, to approve a federal budget that was balanced.

In 1996, the U.S. Senate ratified SALT II. President Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin had signed the arms reduction agreement three years before.

In 1997, the Green Bay Packers, who won the first two Super Bowls, finally won a third with a 35-21 victory over the New England Patriots.

In 1998, in response to allegations that he had an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, President Clinton declared: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

In 1999, President Clinton welcomed Pope John Paul II to St. Louis.

In 2001, more than 20,000 people were killed when an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale rocked western India.

In 2003 sports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers routed the Oakland Raiders 48-21 in the Super Bowl.

In 2004, Iraqi policemen discovered and dismantled a booby-trapped car which was parked near the U.S. command headquarters in Baghdad.

Also in 2004, South Korea was reported pushing for the development of nuclear submarines to cope with regional security threats.

And, Billy May, a legendary big band era arranger who worked with many musical stars of the day, from Glenn Miller to Frank Sinatra, died at the age of 87.

A thought for the day: Bertrand Russell said, "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

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