The almanac

By United Press International  |  Dec. 1, 2007 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, Dec. 1, the 335th day of 2007 with 30 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include detective novelist Rex Stout in 1886; former United Mine Workers president W.A. "Tony" Boyle in 1904; actress Mary Martin in 1913; comedian-filmmaker Woody Allen in 1935 (age 72); soul singer Lou Rawls in 1933; pro golfer Lee Trevino in 1939 (age 68); comedian Richard Pryor in 1940; singer/actress Bette Midler in 1945 (age 62); actor Treat Williams in 1951 (age 56); and model Carol Alt in 1960 (age 47).

On this date in history:

In 1891, the game of basketball was invented when James Naismith, a physical education teacher at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Mass., put peach baskets at the opposite ends of the gym and gave students soccer balls to toss into them.

In 1903, the world's first drive-in gasoline station opened for business in Pittsburgh.

In 1917, the Rev. Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town near Omaha.

In 1943, ending a "Big Three" meeting in Tehran, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Russian Premier Josef Stalin pledged a concerted effort to defeat Nazi Germany.

In 1953, the first Playboy magazine was published. Marilyn Monroe was on the cover.

In 1955, Rosa Parks, a black woman, was arrested in Montgomery, Ala., for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus. The event has been called the birth of the modern civil rights movement.

In 1989, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Pope John Paul II met in the Vatican City. Afterward, they announced an agreement to establish diplomatic ties and Gorbachev renounced more than 70 years of oppression of religion in the Soviet Union.

In 1990, Iraq agreed to U.S. President George H.W. Bush's call for diplomatic missions to seek a solution to the Gulf crisis but insisted the Arab-Israeli dispute be a part of any bargain.

In 1991, voters in Soviet republic of Ukraine overwhelmingly voted for independence.

In 1996, an oil tanker sunk by the Japanese in 1941 was located off the California coast with its cargo intact.

In 1997, it was announced that Walt Disney Co. would donate $25 million to Los Angeles for the construction of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

In 2000, with the presidential election still undecided, Democrats and Republicans wound up with a 50-50 split in the Senate.

In 2001, as the U.S. and Israel pressured Yasser Arafat to crack down on Palestinian terrorist attacks, three suicide bombers struck Israelis the first two days of December, killing 29 people.

In 2003, Thailand officials said illegal drug traffic had been nearly eradicated, but that the fight would continue until Thailand is completely drug free.

Also in 2003, Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president detained in The Hague on war crimes charges, said he would return to Serbian politics on the Dec. 28 legislative ballot.

In 2004, one dozen people were reported dead in a prison riot and shootouts in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In 2005, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee and a military veteran, said the war in Iraq had left the U.S. Army "broken, worn out" and "living hand-to-mouth."

Also in 2005, gay marriage became legal in South Africa when the country's Constitutional Court ruled that laws banning it are unconstitutional.

In 2006, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group was reported favoring a pullout of most U.S. combat forces from Iraq by early 2008.

Also in 2006, U.S. President George Bush proclaimed Dec. 1 World AIDS Day and urged all Americans to join in the fight against the disease.

And, the British government decided on a near total indoor public smoking ban in England. Only private homes and hotel rooms were exempt.

A thought for the day: it was Ezra Pound who said, "Literature is news that stays news."

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