The Almanac

By United Press International  |  March 16, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, March 16, the 75th day of 2006 with 290 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include James Madison, fourth president of the United States, in 1751; German physicist Georg Ohm, a pioneer in the study of electricity, in 1787; former first lady Pat Nixon in 1912; actor Leo McKern in 1920; entertainer Jerry Lewis in 1926 (age 80); Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., in 1927 (age 79); filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci in 1941 (age 65); game-show host Chuck Wollery in 1942 (age 64); actor Erik Estrada in 1949 (age 57); and actors Kate Nelligan in 1951 (age 55) and Kevin Smith ("Hercules," "Xena: Warrior Princess") in 1964.

On this date in history:

In 1802, Congress authorized the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

In 1827, Freedom's Journal, the first black newspaper in America, was published in New York.

In 1926, Robert Goddard launched the world's first liquid-fuel rocket.

In 1966, U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott docked their Gemini 8 space vehicle with an Agena craft, a first in orbital history.

In 1968, some 300 Vietnam villagers died at the hands of U.S. troops in what came to be known as the My Lai massacre.

In 1978, the U.S. Senate approved the first of two Panama Canal pacts, guaranteeing neutrality of the canal after Panama assumes control at the end of 1999.

In 1991, Baghdad claimed its troops had crushed an uprising in southern Iraq that began in the wake of the Gulf War.

In 1992, a state court in Los Angeles awarded humorist Art Buchwald and producer Alain Bernheim $900,000 from Paramount Studios for Buchwald's idea for the movie "Coming to America," which was a hit for comedian Eddie Murphy.

In 1993, authorities met "face-to-face" for the first time with representatives from the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, in an effort to end the 17-day siege peacefully.

In 1994, the International Atomic Energy Agency said North Korea barred its inspectors from checking one of the communist nation's seven nuclear sites.

In 1998, in a 14-page statement, the Vatican apologized for not doing more to prevent the killing of millions of Jews at the hands of the Nazis.

In 2002, Crown Prince Abdullah, the defacto leader of Saudi Arabia, told U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney that it was not in the best interests of the United States or the region for the United States to attack Iraq.

In 2003, an Israeli army bulldozer ran over and killed an American woman trying to prevent it from destroying a Palestinian home on the West Bank.

In 2004, Hans Blix, the former U.N. chief weapons inspector in Iraq, criticized the Bush administration for having "a set mind" about going to war with Iraq, calling the search for weapons of mass destruction an old-fashioned witch hunt.

In 2005, a Los Angeles jury found actor Robert Blake not guilty in the 2001 slaying of his wife.

And, a California judge sentenced Scott Peterson to death for the murders of his wife Laci and their unborn son.

Also in 2005, Paul Wolfowicz, the deputy secretary of Defense and often referred to as an architect of the war in Iraq, was nominated by President George W. Bush to become president of the World Bank.

A thought for the day: Art Buchwald said, "People are broad-minded. They'll accept the fact that a person can be an alcoholic, a dope fiend, a wife beater and even a newspaperman, but if a man doesn't drive, there's something wrong with him."

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