The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Sunday, Jan. 20, the 20th day of 2008 with 346 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include Harold Gray, creator of the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie," in 1894; comedian George Burns in 1896; Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1906; Italian film director Federico Fellini and actor DeForest Kelley, both in 1920; country singer Otis "Slim" Whitman in 1924 (age 84); actress Patricia Neal in 1926 (age 82); astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon, in 1930 (age 78); comic Arte Johnson in 1929 (age 79); director David Lynch in 1946 (age 62); TV host Bill Maher ("Politically Incorrect") in 1956 (age 52); and actor Lorenzo Lamas in 1958 (age 50).


On this date in history:

In 1265, Britain's House of Commons, which became a model for parliamentary bodies, met for the first time.

In 1783, U.S. and British representatives signed a preliminary "Cessation of Hostilities," which ended the fighting in the Revolutionary War.

In 1892, the first officially recognized basketball game was played at the YMCA gym in Springfield, Mass.

In 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only president to be elected to four terms in office, was inaugurated to his final term. He died three months later and was succeeded by Vice President Harry Truman.

In 1961, John Fitzgerald Kennedy began his presidency with inauguration ceremonies on the newly renovated east front of the Capitol.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th president of the United States. That same day, 52 American hostages were released by Iran after 444 days in captivity.

In 1990, at least 62 civilians were killed and more than 200 wounded when the Soviet army stormed into Baku to end what Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called fratricidal killing between Muslim Azerbaijanis and Christian Armenians.

In 1993, Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd president of the United States.


Also in 1993, Oscar-winning actress Audrey Hepburn died of cancer at her home in Switzerland. She was 63.

In 1995, the United States announced it was easing the trade embargo in effect against North Korea since the Korean War.

Also in 1995, a strike-shortened National Hockey League season opened with teams playing a 48-game schedule instead of the usual 84.

In 1996, Yasser Arafat was elected president of the Palestinian Authority with 88 percent of the vote.

In 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton was inaugurated for his second term in office.

Also in 1997, millionaire Steve Fossett landed in northern India after a record-setting bid to become the first person to circle the globe in a hot-air balloon.

In 2000, U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., warned the U.N. Security Council that the United States would withdraw from the world body if it failed to respect U.S. sovereignty.

In 2001, George W. Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd president of the United States.

Also in 2001, just hours before leaving office, U.S. President Bill Clinton issued 176 pardons -- a number of them controversial.

In 2003, Britain said it was sending 26,000 troops to the Persian Gulf for possible deployment to Iraq but France said it wouldn't support a U.N. resolution for military action.


In 2005, George Bush was sworn in for his second term as U.S. president.

In 2006, official results gave Muslim Shiites 128 seats in Iraq's parliamentary elections to lead all parties but fell 10 seats short of a majority.

Also in 2006, Lawrence Franklin, a former U.S. State Department analyst and Iran expert, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for passing classified information to Israel and two pro-Israeli lobbyists.

In 2007, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., became the first former first lady to seek the U.S. presidency when she entered the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination.

Also in 2007, ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro was "fighting for his life," Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in a speech in Brazil.

A thought for the day: Henry David Thoreau wrote, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

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