The Almanac

By United Press International  |  March 22, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, March 22, the 81st day of 2006 with 284 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 Aries. They include actors Karl Malden in 1913 (age 93) and Werner Klemperer ("Hogan's Heroes") in 1919; French mime Marcel Marceau in 1923 (age 83); composer Stephen Sondheim and televangelist Pat Robertson, both in 1930 (age 76); actors William Shatner in 1931 (age 75) and Emmett Walsh in 1935; singer George Benson in 1943 (age 73); British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1948 (age 58); sportscaster Bob Costas in 1952 (age 54); actor Matthew Modine in 1959 (age 47); Canadian skater Elvis Stojko in 1972 (age 34); and actress Reese Witherspoon in 1976 (age 30).

On this date in history:

In 1791, Congress enacted legislation forbidding slave trading with foreign nations.

In 1941, the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River began producing electric power for the Pacific Northwest.

In 1945, representatives from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen met in Cairo to establish the Arab League.

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson recalled Gen. William Westmoreland as commander of U.S. troops in Vietnam and made him Army chief of staff. Gen. Creighton Abrams took over in Saigon.

In 1974, the U.S. Senate passed and sent to the states for ratification the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a measure popularly known as the Equal Rights Amendment. However, the required number of states -- 38 -- failed to ratify it before the deadline.

In 1987, Chad troops drove Libyan forces from a key airstrip in northern Chad, apparently ending Moammar Gadhafi's 7-year occupation. The Libyans abandoned $500 million worth of Soviet-made tanks and airplanes.

In 1992, 27 people were killed when a USAir plane bound for Cleveland skidded off a runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport during a snowstorm and landed in the bay.

In 1993, a U.S. nuclear submarine collided with a Russian nuclear sub in a Russian training area in the Barents Sea. There were no casualties.

In 1997, Comet Hale-Bopp made its closest approach to Earth -- about 122 million miles.

In 2000, Pope John Paul II visited a Palestinian refugee camp and declared the conditions there to be "degrading."

In 2001, five people were wounded when a teenager opened fire at a school in El Cajon, Calif. The alleged gunman was shot and seriously wounded by police.

In 2003, as the war in Iraq gained momentum, a U.S. Army maintenance convoy made a wrong turn and was ambushed. Eleven soldiers were killed and seven captured, including Pfc. Jessica Lynch.

Also in 2003, U.S. forces seized a large weapons cache in Afghanistan.

In 2004, the founder and spiritual leader of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, Ahmed Yassin, was killed in an Israeli missile strike in the Gaza Strip.

In 2005, a Montana handyman pleaded innocent to charges he hatched a scheme to kidnap television star David Letterman's 16-month-old son.

Also in 2005, North Korea's government-controlled news agency claimed the country beefed up its nuclear weapons arsenal to counter U.S. security threats.

A thought for the day: Gen. William Westmoreland said, "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars."

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