The almanac

By United Press International  |  Jan. 13, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Sunday, Jan. 13, the 13th day of 2008 with 353 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 French fairy tale writer Charles Perrault, author of the Mother Goose stories, in 1628; Horatio Alger, author of rags-to-riches stories, in 1832; Alfred Fuller, the original Fuller Brush Man, in 1885; singer Sophie Tucker in 1884; Hollywood columnist Army Archerd in 1922 (age 86); and actors Robert Stack in 1919, Gwen Verdon in 1925, Charles Nelson Reilly in 1931, Richard Moll in 1943 (age 65), Kevin Anderson in 1960 (age 48), Julia Louis-Dreyfus in 1961 (age 47) and Penelope Ann Miller in 1964 (age 44).

On this date in history:

In 1864, composer Stephen Foster ("My Old Kentucky Home") died in a New York hospital, three days after he was found sick and almost penniless in a hotel room.

In 1910, radio pioneer and electron tube inventor Lee Deforest arranged the world's first radio broadcast -- a performance by the New York Metropolitan Opera -- for the public in New York City.

In 1941, Irish novelist James Joyce died at age 58.

In 1982, an Air Florida Boeing 737 crashed into a Potomac River bridge in Washington, killing 78 people.

In 1987, seven top New York Mafia bosses were sentenced to 100 years in prison each, including the heads of the Genovese, Colombo and Lucchese crime families.

In 1991, a Soviet crackdown in the Baltics killed 15 and injured 140.

Also in 1991, at least 40 South Africans were killed and 50 injured when fighting erupted during a soccer game in Orkney.

In 1993, U.S. and allied fighter planes bombed targets in southern Iraq to punish Saddam Hussein for his repeated violations of U.N. resolutions that ended the Persian Gulf War.

Also in 1993, a U.S. House of Representatives task force said it found no "credible" evidence that 1980 Reagan campaign officials tried to delay the release of U.S. hostages held by Iran.

In 1996, U.S. Sen. William Cohen, R-Maine, announced his retirement, a record 13th senator choosing not to seek new terms. By year's end, Cohen would join the Clinton Cabinet.

In 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton awarded the Medal of Honor to seven black soldiers for their courage in action in Italy during World War II. It was the first time the medal was given to black WWII servicemen.

In 1999, Michael Jordan, regarded by many as the greatest basketball player ever, announced his retirement. He had led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships.

In 2001, more than 800 people were killed when an early morning earthquake shook the coast of El Salvador.

In 2003, Pope John Paul II argued forcibly against war in Iraq except as "the very last option" and said such a conflict would be "a defeat for humanity."

In 2004, U.S. President George Bush said Canada will be allowed to compete for major reconstruction contracts in Iraq despite its objection to the war.

In 2005, the 15-year-old boy accusing Michael Jackson of child molestation vividly described sexual encounters in testimony before a grand jury.

Also in 2005, the CIA said Iraq replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of professional terrorists.

And, U.S. major league baseball players agreed to stricter policy for steroids and other drugs that includes testing and tougher penalties.

In 2006, the U.S. military launched a missile attack in Pakistan in an unsuccessful effort to kill al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Pakistan lodged a complaint against the U.S. attack in which a reported 17 died.

In 2007, the U.S. Defense Department used an obscure law to examine the finances of hundreds of Americans suspected of terror or espionage, a published report said. The practice was described as an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.

A thought for the day: in "The Guardian," Alec Issigonis wrote that, "A camel is a horse designed by committee."

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