The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Jan. 16, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, Jan. 16, the 16th day of 2006 with 349 to go.

This is a federal holiday observed as Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include German philosopher Franz Brentano in 1838; Andre Michelin, the French industrialist who first mass-produced rubber automobile tires, in 1853; Canadian poet Robert Service in 1874; Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1901; singer Ethel Merman in 1909; baseball pitcher Jay "Dizzy" Dean in 1911; singer Eartha Kitt in 1928 (age 78); opera singer Marilyn Horne in 1934 (age 72); race car driver A.J. Foyt in 1935 (age 71); country singer Ronnie Milsap in 1946 (age 60); director John Carpenter in 1948 (age 58); choreographer, actress and director Debbie Allen in 1950 (age 56); and actor David Chokachi ("Baywatch") in 1968 (age 38).

On this date in history:

In 1883, Congress passed a bill creating the civil service.

In 1919, the United States went legally "dry" as prohibition of alcoholic beverages took effect under the 18th amendment to the Constitution. The amendment was repealed in 1933.

In 1925, Leon Trotsky was dismissed as chairman of the Russian Revolution Military Council.

In 1942, screen star Carole Lombard, her mother and 20 other people were killed in a plane crash near Las Vegas. Lombard was the wife of actor Clark Gable.

In 1944, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower arrived in London to assume command of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe.

In 1984, President Roland Reagan called for "peaceful competition" with Moscow. He authorized research and development on space-age weapons capable of destroying incoming nuclear missiles, the program known as "Star Wars."

In 1986, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said Libya would train, arm and protect Arab guerrillas for Palestinian "suicide and terrorist missions," his first explicit endorsement of terrorism.

In 1987, China's No. 2 leader, Hu Yaobang, 71, was forced to resign as Communist Party chief for failing to curb student demonstrations for more democracy.

In 1990, Moscow rushed 11,000 more troops to Azerbaijan and Armenia to reinforce soldiers trying to quell deadly ethnic violence.

In 1991, the Persian Gulf War began with the allied bombing of Baghdad.

In 1993, Windsor Castle was reopened just two months after a fire swept through the British landmark.

In 1994, at a joint news conference in Geneva with President Bill Clinton, Syrian President Hafez Assad indicated a willingness to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel.

In 1997, a bomb exploded at an Atlanta building housing an abortion clinic. An hour later, after investigators and others had come to the scene, a second bomb went off, injuring six people.

Also in 1997, Ennis Cosby, the son of entertainer Bill Cosby, was shot to death while changing a tire on a freeway exit ramp in Los Angeles.

In 1998, investigators for special counsel Kenneth Starr questioned former White House intern Monica Lewinsky about allegations that she had an affair with President Bill Clinton.

In 2000, British drugmaker Glaxo Wellcome agreed to buy SmithKline Beecham for $76 billion, creating the world's largest pharmaceutical company.

In 2001, President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was shot to death, reportedly by one of his bodyguards, who in turn was killed by other bodyguards.

In 2003, President George W. Bush called the Michigan affirmative action program unconstitutional.

In 2004, NASA announced plans to cancel space shuttle missions to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope, an act that would condemn the Hubble to mechanical failure in the next two years.

In 2005, President George W. Bush said his re-election was a ratification of what he did in Iraq and there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable.

Also in 2005, the mother of Spc. Charles Graner Jr., who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, said her son had been sent to prison "for something he was told to do."

A thought for the day: In the film "Tomorrow Never Dies," James Bond said, "The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success."

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