The Almanac

By United Press International  |  June 17, 2005 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, June 17, the 168th day of 2005 with 197 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, in 1703; Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky in 1882; actor Ralph Bellamy in 1905; author John Hersey in 1914; actor/singer Dean Martin in 1917; former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., in 1943 (age 62); singer Barry Manilow in 1946 (age 59); comedian Joe Piscopo in 1951 (age 54); actors Mark Linn-Baker ("Perfect Strangers") in 1953 (age 52) and Greg Kinnear in 1963 (age 42); speedskater-turned-sportscaster Dan Jansen in 1965 (age 40); and tennis star Venus Williams in 1980 (age 25).

On this date in history:

In 1967, China announced it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

In 1972, the Watergate scandal began with the arrest of five burglars inside Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington.

In 1982, Argentina's President Leopoldo Galtieri resigned in response to Britain's victory in the Falkland Islands war.

In 1986, Kate Smith, one of America's most popular singers in the '20s, '30s and '40s, died at the age of 79.

Also in 1986, Maryland basketball star Len Bias, about to enter the pro ranks, dropped dead from cocaine intoxication, focusing national attention on cocaine use by athletes.

In 1991, South African President F.W. de Klerk ended apartheid when he repealed the Population Registration Act that classified South Africans by race from birth.

In 1992, two Germans were released by their pro-Iranian kidnappers after three years' captivity in Lebanon. They were the last of the Western hostages to be freed.

In 1994, Los Angeles police charged O.J. Simpson with killing his ex-wife and her friend. Simpson had arranged to turn himself in but instead fled; later leading police on a slow-speed, nationally televised chase that ended in surrender at his Los Angeles home.

Also in 1994, members of the Branch Davidian cult were sentenced to prison on charges stemming from the February 1993 federal raid on their compound near Waco, Texas.

And in 1994, the United States played host for the first time to the World Cup soccer tournament.

In 1996, ValuJet Airlines shut down about a month after a crash in the Florida Everglades led to questions about the carrier's safety and maintenance records.

In 2003, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien promised legislation that would legalize gay marriage throughout his country.

Also in 2003, U.S. envoy John Wolf began Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with the Palestinian prime minister in Gaza City.

In 2004, a car bomb killed at least 30 people and wounded 150 others in central Baghdad, two weeks before the handover of power to Iraqis.

A thought for the day: Martin Luther King, Jr., said, "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

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