The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Wednesday, Jan. 9, the 9th day of 2008 with 357 to follow.

The moon is waxing. 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 women's suffrage and peace movement leader Carrie Chapman Catt in 1859; pioneer psychologist John Watson in 1878; choreographer George Balanchine in 1904; French novelist Simone de Beauvoir in 1908; Richard Nixon, 37th president of the United States, in 1913; striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee in 1914; actors Fernando Lamas in 1915, Lee Van Cleef in 1925 and Bob Denver in 1935; author Judith Krantz in 1928 (age 80); sportscaster Dick Enberg in 1935 (age 73); singer Joan Baez and actress Susannah York, both in 1941 (age 67); country singer Crystal Gayle in 1951 (age 57); actress Joely Richardson in 1965 (age 43); and bandleader Dave Matthews in 1967 (age 41).


On this day in history:

In 1768, the first modern circus was staged in London.

In 1861, Mississippi seceded from the Union.

In 1945, in World War II, U.S. troops invaded the Philippine island of Luzon and went on to liberate Manila.

In 1969, the British-French supersonic Concorde jetliner made its first test flight at Bristol, England.

In 1972, the luxury liner Queen Elizabeth was gutted by fire while docked in Hong Kong.

In 1986, the Internal Revenue Service announced it would withhold income tax refunds coming to 750,000 government loan defaulters, most of them former students.

In 1993, seven people were found shot to death at a fast-food chicken restaurant in Palatine, Ill., northwest of Chicago.

In 1995, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., asked for the resignation of House historian Christina Jeffrey after it was revealed she'd once criticized a school program on the Holocaust for not including the "Nazi point of view" or that of the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1996, rebels in the Russian republic of Chechnya overran the town of Kizlyar and took 2,000 hostages at a hospital and in nearby homes.

In 2004, a Kenyan survey said about 1 million adults were infected with HIV in the country, one-third of previous estimates.


In 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began breathing on his own as Jerusalem doctors eased him out of an induced coma following emergency brain surgery. Sharon suffered a major stroke five days earlier.

In 2007, fierce fighting was reported in Baghdad between Sunni Muslim insurgents and Iraqi forces backed by U.S. troops and air assaults. Fighting flared soon after a new security plan for the city was announced, reports said.

Also in 2007, Venezuelan stocks fell almost 19 percent -- their biggest drop on record – and the country's currency lost almost one-third of its value after President Hugo Chavez pledged to nationalize the country's utilities.

A thought for the day: Seneca said, "If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable."

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