The Almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Monday, Dec. 26, the 360th day of 2005 with five to follow.

This is the first day of Hanukkah.


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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include English poet Thomas Gray in 1716; English inventor Charles Babbage, who developed the first speedometer, in 1792; Adm. George Dewey, the American Naval hero of Manila, in 1837; novelist Henry Miller in 1891; Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese communist revolution, in 1893; actor Richard Widmark in 1914 (age 91); entertainer Steve Allen in 1921; comedian Alan King in 1927; music producer Phil Spector in 1940 (age 65); and sled dog racer Susan Butcher in 1954 (age 51).

On this date in history:

In 1776, American forces under Gen. George Washington, having crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night, defeated Hessian mercenary troops fighting for the British at the Battle of Trenton, N.J.


In 1908, Jack Johnson became the first African-American to win the world heavyweight boxing title when he knocked out Tommy Burns in the 14th round near Sydney, Australia.

In 1917, the federal government took over operation of U.S. railroads for the duration of World War I.

In 1972, Harry Truman, 33rd president of the United States, died at age 88.

In 1974, comedian Jack Benny died of cancer.

In 1990, Nancy Cruzan, the focus of a right-to-die case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, died in a Missouri hospital.

In 1993, members of China's Communist Party gathered in Beijing to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong.

In 1996, child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, 6, was found slain in a basement room of her family's posh Boulder, Colo., home.

In 2000, the White House killed a drug-import plan, saying the congressional measure for low-cost prescription drugs would neither be safe nor cut costs.

In 2001, the man captured as he tried to ignite explosives hidden in his sneakers aboard an American Airlines jet was identified as Richard Reid, a 28-year-old unemployed British citizen.


In 2003, more than 26,000 people were reported killed and thousands injured when an earthquake struck the ancient Iranian city of Bam.

Also in 2003, the death toll reached 135 in the crash of a Boeing 727 in Benin.

And, powerful mudslides struck southern California, killing at least seven people.

In 2004, a powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami in South and Southeast Asia, with massive tidal waves, some 40 feet high, slamming into India, Thailand, Indonesia and five other countries, killing thousands of people. First estimates put the death toll at 6,300.

Also in 2004, Ukraine opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko claimed victory in the court-ordered second vote in the country's presidential run-off. The earlier vote, which favored Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, was annulled after strong allegations of fraud.

A thought for the day: Michel Eyquem de Montaigne said, "A man of understanding has lost nothing, if he has himself."

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