The Almanac

By United Press International  |  March 19, 2005 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, March 19, the 78th day of 2005 with 287 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include Plymouth Colony Gov. William Bradford in 1589; Scottish explorer of Africa David Livingstone in 1813; Marshal Wyatt Earp in 1848; jurist William Jennings Bryan in 1860; Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1891; "Watergate" Judge John Sirica in 1904; actor Patrick McGoohan in 1928 (age 77); author Philip Roth in 1933 (age 72); and actors Ursula Andress in 1936 (age 69), Glenn Close in 1947 (age 58), and Bruce Willis in 1955 (age 50).

On this date in history:

In 721 B.C., according to the Roman historian Ptolemy, Babylonian astronomers noted history's first recorded eclipse: an eclipse of the moon.

In 1916, the first U.S. air combat mission in history saw eight Curtiss "Jenny" planes of the First Aero Squadron take off from Columbus, N.M., to aid troops that had invaded Mexico in pursuit of the bandit Pancho Villa.

In 1918, Congress passed the Standard Time Act, which authorized the Interstate Commerce Commission to establish standard time zones in the United States.

In 1920, the Treaty of Versailles, establishing the League of Nations, was rejected by the U.S. Senate.

In 1931, in an effort to ease the hard times of the Great Depression, the Nevada state legislature voted to legalist gambling.

In 1942, with World War II under way, all men in the United States between the ages of 45 and 64, about 13 million, were ordered to register with the draft boards for non-military duty.

In 1953, legendary filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille won the only Academy Award of his career when "The Greatest Show on Earth," a big budget extravaganza about circus life, won an Oscar for Best Picture of the year.

In 1987, South Carolina televangelist Jim Bakker resigned as head of the PTL Club, saying he was blackmailed after a sexual encounter with former church secretary Jessica Hahn.

In 1991, Khaleda Zia became the first woman prime minister of Bangladesh.

In 1992, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Andrew and his wife, the duchess of York, were separating.

In 1993, Justice Byron White, the lone remaining member of the U.S. Supreme Court appointed by a Democrat, announced he would retire, opening the way for President Clinton to make his first high judicial nomination.

Also in 1993, a high school in the Los Angeles suburb of Lakewood, Calif., was rocked by the arrests of eight youths, allegedly members of a gang that raped and molested girls as part of a game.

And in 1993, federal bankruptcy judge confirmed Abraham Hirschfeld, described by his own staff as a "nut," as the buyer of the New York Post.

In 1997, a federal judge in Phoenix, Ariz., began sentencing 10 members of a paramilitary group to prison after they pleaded guilty to various counts, including conspiracy to make and possess destructive devices.

Also in 1997, President Clinton nominated acting CIA director George Tenet to head the agency.

In 2002, Israel completed its army's pullout of the West Bank by leaving Bethlehem, one day after Israeli Prime Minister Arial Sharon met with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. The following day a suicide bomber killed seven Israelis on a bus.

In 2003, The U.S.-led military offensive aimed at removing Saddam Hussein from power invaded Iraq with a nighttime assault of about 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired at Baghdad.

Also in 2003, the U.S. Senate rejected a proposal supported by the Bush administration to allow drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

In 2004, on the first anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, officials said 571 U.S. military personnel had been killed.

A thought for the day: William Jennings Bryan said, "Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."

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