The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Friday, Feb. 1, the 32nd day of 2008 with 334 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 the date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include composer Victor Herbert in 1859; Hattie Caraway of Arkansas, first woman elected to the Senate, in 1878; film director John Ford in 1894; actor Clark Gable in 1901; poet Langston Hughes in 1902; humorist S.J. Perelman in 1904; cabaret singer Hildegarde in 1906; film and special effects director George Pal in 1908; actor Stuart Whitman in 1926 (age 82); former Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1931 (age 77); singer Don Everly in 1937 (age 71); rock parodist Ray "Dr. Hook" Sawyer and comedian Garrett Morris, also in 1937 (age 71); actor Sherman Hemsley in 1938 (age 70); actor/director Terry Jones ("Monty Python's Flying Circus") in 1942 (age 66); singer Rick James in 1948; actor Billy Mumy ("Lost in Space") in 1954 (age 54); Princess Stephanie of Monaco and actress Sherilyn Fenn, both in 1965 (age 43); and Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley and ex-wife of Michael Jackson, in 1968 (age 40).


On this date in history:

In 1790, the U.S. Supreme Court convened in New York City for its first session.

In 1968, the communist Viet Cong began a major offensive of the Vietnam War with a fierce attack on the South Vietnamese city of Hue.

In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini, symbol of the Iranian revolution, returned to his homeland.

In 1991, 34 people were killed and 24 more injured when a USAir jet hit a SkyWest plane on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Also in 1991, at least 1,200 people were killed in an earthquake that struck Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And in 1991, South African President F.W. De Klerk announced that he would seek repeal of key laws on which the apartheid system was based.

In 1996, a telecommunications bill cleared the U.S. Congress that would lift most restrictions on telephone competition and broadcast station ownership and also required V-chips in television sets. U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law a week later.

In 2001, former U.S. President Bill Clinton said he and his wife would return $86,000 in gifts they received in 2000 but would keep $104,000 worth of others they received prior to 2000.


In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke apart during its descent over the southwestern United States. All seven astronauts aboard were killed.

In 2004, suicide bombings targeting the two main Kurdish party headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil killed 100 people and injured many others.

Also in 2004, Saudi Arabian officials said Sunday as many as 244 people were trampled during the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. An equal number of people were injured.

In 2004, during the Super Bowl halftime show, Justin Timberlake tore off part of Janet Jackson's top garment, exposing her right breast and touching off strong criticism, a Federal Communications Commission investigation and a hefty fine for CBS. Timberlake apologized, blaming it on "a wardrobe malfunction."

In 2005, the Pentagon was reported moving toward retroactively increasing the death benefit for survivors of U.S. soldiers killed in combat to as much as $500,000.

In 2006, Ben Bernanke became the new U.S. Federal Reserve chief, replacing the retired Alan Greenspan, who held the position for 18 years.

In 2007, fears among Iraqis and U.S. officials were reported rising that Iraq's oil rich city of Kirkuk would become a major battleground akin to Baghdad and Anbar province.


A thought for the day: "One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." Oliver Wendell Holmes said that.

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