The Almanac

United Press International

Today is Thursday, Sept. 15, the 258th day of 2005 with 107 to follow.

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


Those born on this date in history are under the sign of Virgo. They include novelist James Fenimore Cooper in 1789; William Howard Taft, 27th president of the United States, in 1857; humorist Robert Benchley in 1889; mystery writer Agatha Christie in 1890; country music star Roy Acuff in 1903; actress Fay Wray ("King Kong" ) in 1907; actor Jackie Cooper in 1922 (age 83); singer/pianist Bobby Short in 1926; comedian Norm Crosby in 1927 (age 78); jazz saxophone player Julian "Cannonball" Adderly in 1928; football player-turned-actor Merlin Olsen in 1940 (age 65); soprano Jessye Norman in 1945 (age 60); filmmaker Oliver Stone and actor Tommy Lee Jones, both in 1946 (age 59); and Prince Henry, called "Harry," second son of Britain's Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, in 1984 (age 21).


On this date in history:

In 1812, the Russians set fire to Moscow in a bid to keep out Napoleon and his invading French troops.

In 1942, the armies of Nazi Germany began their siege of the Russian city of Stalingrad.

In 1954, the famous scene in which Marilyn Monroe is shown laughing as her skirt is blown up by a blast of air from a subway vent was shot during the filming of "The Seven Year Itch." The scene infuriated her husband, Joe DiMaggio, who felt it was exhibitionist. The couple was divorced a short time later.

In 1963, four black girls were killed in the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Ala. Two black teenage boys were shot to death later that day as citywide rioting broke out.

In 1971, the environmental organization Greenpeace was founded by 12 members of the Don't Make A Wave committee of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

In 1972, two former White House aides and five other men were indicted on charges of conspiracy in the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, touching off the Watergate scandal.

In 1989, the Exxon Corp. halted its billion-dollar oil spill cleanup effort in Alaska's Prince William Sound as winter approached.


In 1992, the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan's Invisible Empire of Florida announced he was moving the group's headquarters from Orlando to Gainesville because it's "a progressive community, and we think we can fit in."

In 1993, Katherine Ann Power, a Vietnam War opponent who'd been a fugitive for more than 20 years in the death of a police officer during a bank robbery in Boston, surrendered. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison.

In 1997, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld gave up on his bid to become U.S. ambassador to Mexico after Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jesse Helms, R-N.C., refused to convene a confirmation hearing.

Also in 1997, two popular diet drugs, sold under the brand names Pondimin and Redux, were withdrawn from the market because of findings the appetite suppressants could cause heart ailments.

And in 1997, Britain's Queen Elizabeth issued a rare public statement denying she and Prince Charles had argued over funeral arrangements for Princess Diana.

In 1999, a Fort Worth, Texas, man opened fire during a youth service at a Baptist church, killing seven people -- including three teenagers -- and wounding seven more before killing himself.


Also in 1999, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to deploy a multinational peacekeeping force to the Indonesian island of East Timor.

In 2000, the 27th Summer Olympic Games opened in Sydney, Australia, with a record number of female athletes participating and with North and South Korea marching together in the opening procession.

In 2001, the United States continued making plans that eventually would land troops in Afghanistan in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network and stepped up search operations for other potential terrorists in that country.

In 2003, more than 100 prisoners were reported killed in a fire at a maximum security prison outside the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.

In 2004, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly hinted that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had been marked for assassination.

A thought for the day: Former California Gov. Jerry Brown said, "Too often I find that the volume of paper expands to fill the available briefcases."

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