The Almanac

By United Press International  |  March 22, 2007 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, March 22, the 81st day of 2007 with 284 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include actors Karl Malden in 1912 (age 95) and Werner Klemperer ("Hogan's Heroes") in 1920; French mime Marcel Marceau in 1923 (age 84); composer Stephen Sondheim and televangelist Pat Robertson, both in 1930 (age 77); actors William Shatner in 1931 (age 76) and M. Emmett Walsh in 1935 (age 72); singer George Benson in 1943 (age 64); British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1948 (age 59); sportscaster Bob Costas in 1952 (age 55); actor Matthew Modine in 1959 (age 48); Canadian skater Elvis Stojko in 1972 (age 35); and actress Reese Witherspoon in 1976 (age 31).

On this date in history:

In 1791, The U.S. 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, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson recalled U.S. Army 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 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 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 seven-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 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 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, North Korea's government-controlled news agency claimed the country beefed up its nuclear weapons arsenal to counter U.S. security threats.

In 2006, troubled General Motors, in a reported deal with the United Auto Workers Union, said it would offer buyout and early retirement packages to each of its 113,000 unionized employees.

Also in 2006, Basque separatists who live mostly in Spain announced they were declaring a cease-fire and ending their long violent struggle for independence.

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

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