The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Saturday, Jan. 26, the 26th day of 2008 with 340 to follow.

The moon is waning. 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 French philosopher Claude Helvetius in 1715; U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1880; author Philip Jose Farmer in 1918 (age 90); actor Paul Newman in 1925 (age 83); French film director Roger Vadim, in 1928; cartoonist, playwright and author Jules Feiffer in 1929 (age 79); sports personality Bob Uecker in 1935 (age 73); actor Scott Glenn in 1942 (age 66); political activist Angela Davis in 1944 (age 64); film critic Gene Siskel in 1946; rock musician Eddie Van Halen in 1955 (age 53); comedian Ellen DeGeneres in 1958 (age 50); and former hockey star Wayne Gretzky in 1961 (age 47).


On this date in history:

In 1788, the first shipload of British convicts arrived in Australia. The establishment of an Australian prison colony was aimed at relieving overcrowding in British prisons.

In 1875, the electric dental drill was patented by George Green of Kalamazoo, Mich.

In 1918, to promote food conservation during World War I, the U.S. government called for one meatless day, two wheatless days and two porkless days each week.

In 1950, India ceased to be a British dominion and became the Republic of India, most populous democracy in the world.

In 1980, six Americans who were hidden for three months in the Canadian Embassy in Tehran were smuggled out of Iran by Canadian diplomats.

In 1990, hurricane-force winds pounded the British Isles and much of Northern Europe, killing at least 92 people and knocking out power to nearly 1 million people.

In 1991, Iraq fired Scuds at Israel and Saudi Arabia but most were intercepted by Patriot missiles.

In 1996, the U.S. Senate ratified SALT II. President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin had signed the arms reduction agreement three years before.

In 1998, in response to allegations that he had an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, U.S. President Bill Clinton declared, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."


In 1999, U.S. President Bill Clinton welcomed Pope John Paul II to St. Louis.

In 2001, more than 20,000 people were killed when an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale rocked western India.

In 2004, South Korea was reported pushing for the development of nuclear submarines to cope with regional security threats.

And, Billy May, a legendary big band era arranger who worked with many musical stars of the day, from Glenn Miller to Frank Sinatra, died at the age of 87.

In 2005, a Marine helicopter crashed in Iraq killing all 31 Americans aboard.

In 2006, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and his Cabinet resigned after their party was defeated by Hamas in the parliamentary election. However, President Mahmoud Abbas of the defeated Fatah party remained in office.

In 2007, Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new top commander in Iraq, told Congress he needed 21,500 additional troops "as quickly as possible."

Also in 2007, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter apologized for what he called a "stupid" passage in his new book about the Middle East that appeared to endorse terrorist acts.


A thought for the day: Bertrand Russell said, "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

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