The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Feb. 14, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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This is Tuesday, Feb. 14, the 45th day of 2006 with 320 to follow.

This is Valentine's Day.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus in 1473; suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw in 1847; comedian Jack Benny in 1894; broadcaster Hugh Downs in 1921 (age 85); actress/singer Florence Henderson in 1934 (age 72); former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala in 1941 (age 65); journalist Carl Bernstein in 1944 (age 62); dancer/actor Gregory Hines in 1946; magician Teller, of Penn and Teller, in 1948 (age 58); and actors Ken Wahl in 1956 (age 50) and Meg Tilly in 1960 (age 46).

On this date in history:

In 1849, James Polk became the first U.S. president to be photographed while in office. The photographer was Mathew Brady, who later became famous for his Civil War pictures.

In 1886, the West Coast citrus industry was born. The first trainload of oranges left Los Angeles for eastern markets.

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a law creating the Department of Commerce and Labor.

In 1920, the League of Women Voters was formed in Chicago.

In 1929, in what became known as the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre," gunmen believed to be working for Prohibition-era crime lord Al Capone killed seven members of the rival George "Bugs" Moran gang in a Chicago garage.

In 1933, an eight-day bank holiday was declared in Michigan in a Depression-era move to avert a financial panic. A total of $50 million was rushed to Detroit to bolster bank assets.

In 1979, Iranian guerrillas stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, trapping Ambassador William Sullivan and 100 staff members. Forces of the Ayatollah Khomeini later freed them but the incident foreshadowed the embassy takeover in November.

In 1989, Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, offended by "The Satanic Verses," called on Muslims to kill its British author, Salman Rushdie. He offered a $1 million reward for Rushdie's death, sending the writer into hiding. In 1998, Tehran rescinded the death sentence.

In 1990, 90 people were killed and 56 injured in the crash of an Indian Airlines Airbus 320 50 yards short of the runway in Bangalore, India.

In 1991, allied commanders reported a surge in desertions of Iraqi soldiers.

In 1992, the Bush administration denied lying about the fate of repatriated Haitians and asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject efforts to stop the return of thousands of boat people.

Also in 1992, on the third anniversary of his death sentence, author-in-hiding Salman Rushdie said he would no longer "go on living in a box."

In 1993, six people were systematically killed in a modern Valentine's Day massacre in a Bronx, New York, neighborhood but area residents ignored the gunfire.

In 1994, a convicted serial killer who admitted killing 55 people was executed by firing squad in a Russian prison.

In 2003, Dolly, the cloned sheep, was quietly euthanized by the Scottish scientists who brought her to controversial life six years ago. Dolly had been ailing for some time.

In 2004, at least 25 died and close to 100 others were injured when a giant glass roof collapsed at the largest city water park in Moscow. Authorities suspected faulty construction.

Also in 2004, Iraqi insurgents overwhelmed a police station west of Baghdad, killing 23 people and freeing dozens of prisoners.

In 2005, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated. Eleven others died with him. Suspicions focused on Syria.

Also in 2005, a gas explosion in a Chinese mine killed 214 people, worst reported Chinese mining disaster since the 1949 communist revolution.

And, an estimated 59 people were killed and some 210 people were injured during a fire at a mosque in Tehran.

A thought for the day: Jerome K. Jerome said, "It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar."

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