The Almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Friday, June 30, the 181st day of 2006 with 184 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include English socialist leader Harold Laski in 1893; film director Howard Hawks in 1896; actress Susan Hayward in 1917, drummer Buddy Rich in 1917, singer Lena Horne in 1917 (age 89), 1917; actress Nancy Dussault in 1936 (age 70); former U.S. Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo., in 1940 (age 66); singer Florence Ballard of The Supremes in 1943; actors William Atherton in 1947 (age 59) and David Alan Grier in 1955 (age 51); and former heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson in 1966 (age 40).


On this date in history:

In 1859, Frenchman Jean Francois Gravelet, known professionally as the Great Blondin, became the first daredevil to walk across Niagara Falls on a tight rope.

In 1870, Ada Kepley became the first woman to graduate from an accredited law school in the United States: Union College of Law in Chicago.

In 1908, a spectacular explosion occurred over central Siberia, probably caused by a meteorite. The fireball reportedly could be seen hundreds of miles away.

In 1923, jazz pioneer Sidney Bechet made his first recording. It included "Wild Cat Blues" and "Kansas City Blues."

In 1934, German leader Adolf Hitler ordered a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he feared might become political enemies some day.

In 1936, Margaret Mitchell's Civil War novel "Gone With the Wind" was published.

In 1950, U.S. troops were moved from Japan to help defend South Korea against the invading North Koreans.

In 1971, three Soviet Cosmonauts, crewmembers of the world's first space station, were killed when their spacecraft depressurized during re-entry.

In 1982, the extended deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment expired, three states short of the 38 needed for passage.


In 1986, Hugh Hefner, calling his Playboy Bunny a "symbol of the past," closed Playboy Clubs in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

In 1992, Fidel Ramos was inaugurated as the eighth Philippine president in the first peaceful transfer of power in a generation.

Also in 1992, toxic gas from a derailed tank car forced the evacuation of 80,000 people in Superior, Wis.

In 1997, Mike Tyson apologized publicly for biting Evander Holyfield's ears during a heavyweight championship boxing match in Las Vegas two days earlier, saying he'd become angered after Holyfield butted him.

In 1998, a casualty of the Vietnam War buried at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington, Va., was identified as Air Force Lt. Michael Blassie of St. Louis.

In 1999, for the first time since Nov. 1998, the Federal Reserve Board announced an increase in the prime rate -- the rate banks charge each other on overnight loans -- from 4.75 to 5 percent.

Also in 1999, Clinton crony Webster Hubbell, a former associate U.S. attorney general, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in the Whitewater land deal scandal.

In 2000, the Clinton administration said Iraq had restarted its missile program and had flight-tested a short-range ballistic missile.


Also in 2000, the Presbyterian Church ordered its ministers not to conduct same-sex unions.

In 2002, according to published reports, fugitive terrorist leader Osama bin Laden had written a letter to his operations chief in late December, meaning he survived the U.S. assault on his cave complex in Afghanistan if the reports were authentic.

Also in 2002, Israel announced it had killed a top Hamas bomb-maker, responsible for the deaths of more than 100 Israelis in suicide attacks, and had begun work on an electronic fence designed to block off three sides of Jerusalem from the West Bank.

And in 2002 sports, Brazil won its fifth World Cup soccer championship with a 2-0 victory over Germany.

In 2003, after agreeing on a cease-fire with the Palestinians, Israel pulled out of most of the Gaza strip, ending for the time being a blockade on the main highway that began in 2000.

Also in 2003, with the beginning of the new fiscal year, 12 states reported they faced increased taxes and drastic cuts in civic programs. The nationwide economic slowdown got much of the blame.

In 2004, the Federal Reserve, for the first time in four years, raised its benchmark interest rate from a record low 1 percent to 1.25 percent for overnight loans.


Also in 2004, the Cassini spacecraft, after nearly years in space on a U.S.-European mission, became the first to orbit the planet Saturn.

In 2005, the Federal Reserve raised key interest rates a ninth consecutive meeting, noting rising energy prices.

Also in 2005, Israel declared the Gaza Strip a closed military zone. All Israelis, except for residents, service providers and reporters, were barred from entering.

And, Spain became the third country to legalize same-sex marriage.

A thought for the day: Bertrand Russell argued that "Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it."

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