The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Feb. 27, 2005 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Sunday, Feb. 27, the 58th day of 2005 with 307 to follow.

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

Those born on this day are under the sign of Pisces. They include poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1807; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in 1886; David Sarnoff, RCA board chairman and father of American television, in 1891; soprano Marian Anderson in 1897; novelist John Steinbeck in 1902; actress Joan Bennett in 1910; former Texas Governor John Connally in 1917; actors Joanne Woodward in 1930 (age 75), Elizabeth Taylor in 1932 (age 73), Howard Hesseman in 1940 (age 65) and Mary Frann in 1943; consumer activist Ralph Nader in 1934 (age 71); actor Adam Baldwin in 1962 (age 43); and former first daughter Chelsea Clinton in 1980 (age 25).

On this date in history:

In 1933, Adolf Hitler's Nazis set fire to the German parliament building in Berlin, blamed it on the communists, and made that an excuse to suspend German civil liberties and freedom of the press.

In 1942, opening salvos were fired in the Battle of the Java Sea, during which 13 American warships were sunk by the Japanese, who lost only two.

In 1964, the Italian government asked for suggestions on how to save the renowned 180-foot Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.

In 1975, the House of Representatives passed a $21.3 billion anti-recession tax-cut bill.

In 1982, an Atlanta jury convicted Wayne Williams of murdering two of 28 young blacks who had been slain over a two-year period. Williams was sentenced to life in prison.

In 1990, the Soviet Parliament approved creation of U.S.-style presidential system that gave Mikhail Gorbachev broad new powers and established direct popular elections for the post.

Also in 1990, a federal grand jury in Anchorage indicted Exxon Corp. and its shipping subsidiary over the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

In 1991, allied troops liberated Kuwait City.

Also in 1991, a 14-month investigation ended with the Senate Ethics Committee singling out Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Calif., for discipline over dealings with S&L executive Charles Keating.

In 1992, Elizabeth Taylor celebrated her 60th birthday by closing Disneyland for an elaborate private party with her celebrity friends.

In 1994, the 17th Winter Olympic Games ended in Lillihammer, Norway.

In 1998, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at an all-time high of 8545.72, the first time it closed over 8500.

In 1999, Nigeria's transition to civilian rule was nearly completed with the election of Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military leader, as president.

In 2003, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein denied Baghdad had any connection with al Qaida or its leader Osama bin Laden and that Iraq would set fire to its oil fields and blow up its dams in response to a U.S.-led invasion.

Also in 2003, Amnesty International reported that the Ivory Coast's main rebel group slaughtered dozens of Ivorian policemen and their children during a horrific October rampage,

In 2004, two studies commissioned by the U.S. Catholic church showed at least 4 percent of priests were involved in child sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002, with the peak year 1970 in which one of every 10 priests eventually was accused of abuse.

A thought for the day: Marion Anderson, saying she'd forgiven the Daughters of the American Revolution for withdrawing its invitation to perform at its hall because she was black, said, "You lose a lot of time hating people."

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