The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Wednesday, Jan. 2, the second day of 2008, with 364 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include Virginia patriot Nathaniel Bacon in 1647; British Gen. James Wolfe, hero of the battle of Quebec, in 1727; fan dancer Sally Rand in 1904; author Isaac Asimov in 1920; singer Julius La Rosa in 1930 (age 78) and singer/songwriter Roger Miller in 1936; former televangelist Jim Bakker in 1939 (age 69); actors Tia Carrere in 1967 (age 41) and Cuba Gooding Jr. in 1968 (age 40); and model Christy Turlington in 1969 (age 39).

On this date in history:

In 1788, Georgia ratified the Constitution, the fourth of the original 13 colonies to do so, and was admitted to the union.

In 1811, Timothy Pickering, a Federalist from Massachusetts, became the first U.S. senator to be censured after being accused of publicly revealing secret presidential documents.


In 1942, Japanese forces occupied Manila, forcing U.S. and Philippine forces under U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur to withdraw to the Bataan peninsula.

In 1959, the Soviet Union launched Lunik-1, the first unmanned spacecraft to travel to the moon.

In 1974, U.S. President Richard Nixon signed a bill requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 mph or lose federal highway funds.

In 1990, elite Soviet interior ministry troops seized buildings in the Baltic republics of Latvia and Lithuania.

Also in 1990, Britain's most wanted terrorist suspect, Patrick Sheehy, was found dead in the Republic of Ireland.

In 2004, more than 200 people in northern India were reported to have died because of a prolonged cold spell.

Also in 2004, officials in Yakima, Wash., said one- third U.S. cowherd had been quarantined for fears of spreading mad cow disease.

In 2005, U.S. helicopters began dropping supplies on remote sections of Aceh province in Indonesia, devastated by Southeast Asia's earthquake and tsunami. Airdrops also were under way in parts of India.

Also in 2005, a suicide car bomb killed 18 members of the Iraqi National Guard and a civilian in Baghdad.

In 2006, 12 men were killed in a methane gas explosion in a West Virginia coal mine. One man was found alive after 41 hours trapped underground.


Also in 2006, at least 11 people were killed when the roof of a German skating rink at Bad Reichenhall collapsed.

In 2007, national and world dignitaries attended a funeral ceremony in Washington's National Cathedral for former president Gerald Ford, who died a week earlier at 93. Burial followed the next day at the Ford presidential museum in Grand Rapids, Mich.

A thought for the day: an anonymous saying is, "He who dies with the most toys is, nonetheless, still dead."

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