The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Feb. 18, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, Feb. 18, the 49th day of 2006 with 316 to follow.

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 stained glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1848; 1940 Republican presidential candidate Wendell Wilkie in 1892; classical guitarist Andres Segovia in 1893; Italian automaker Enzo Ferrari in 1898; actors Jack Palance in 1920 (age 86), Barbara Hale in 1921 (age 85) and George Kennedy in 1927 (age 79); author and magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown in 1922 (age 84); novelist Toni Morrison in 1931 (age 75); filmmaker Milos Forman in 1932 (age 74); Yoko Ono, widow of John Lennon, in 1933 (age 73); actress Cybill Shepherd in 1950 (age 56); actor John Travolta in 1954 (age 52); game show hostess Vanna White in 1957 (age 48); and actors Greta Scacchi in 1960 (age 46), Matt Dillon in 1964 (age 42) and Molly Ringwald in 1968 (age 38).

On this date in history:

In 1856, The American Party, also known as the "Know-Nothing P8arty," nominated its first presidential candidate, former President Millard Fillmore. But, he carried only Maryland and the party soon vanished.

In 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as provisional president of the Confederate States of America.

In 1865, after a long siege, Union naval forces captured Charleston, S.C.

In 1930, Pluto, the ninth planet of the solar system, was discovered by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh.

In 1967, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the "father of the atomic bomb," died in Princeton, N.J., at the age of 62.

In 1991, one person was killed and 40 more injured when the IRA bombed two railroad stations in central London.

In 1993, a ferry carrying more than 800 people capsized off Haiti's western coast, killing at least 150 people and leaving several hundred more missing and presumed drowned.

Also in 1993, a plane used by missionaries with 13 people aboard was commandeered at gunpoint in Haiti and flown to Miami, where the alleged hijacker surrendered.

And in 1993, euthanasia advocate "Dr. Death" Jack Kevorkian assisted in the suicides of two cancer patients, just three days after he helped a suburban Detroit man take his own life.

In 1995, Myrlie Evers-Williams, wife of assassinated civil rights leader Medgar Evers, was elected chairwoman of the NAACP.

In 2001, a 25-year veteran of the FBI, Robert Hanssen, was arrested at a park near his suburban Washington home and charged with spying for the Russians.

Also in 2001, Dale Earnhardt Sr., stock-car racing's top driver, was killed in a crash in the final turn of the final lap of the Daytona 500. He was 49.

In 2003, around 200 people died and many more were hurt in a South Korea subway fire set by a man authorities say apparently was upset at his doctors.

In 2004, 40 chemical and fuel-laden runaway rail cars derailed in northeastern Iran, producing a massive explosion that killed at least 265 people.

In 2005, a panel of experts voted to advise the FDA that popular painkillers Celebrex, Bextra and Vioxx can cause heart problems.

Also in 2005, at least four blasts rocked Baghdad as Shiites began observing the holy period of Ashura, killing at least 20 people. Dozens more died in similar attacks the next day.

A thought for the day: George Washington said, "Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected."

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