The almanac

United Press International

Today is Saturday, March 8, the 68th day of 2008 with 298 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. in 1841; Scottish children's writer Kenneth Grahame, author of "The Wind in the Willows," in 1859; American printer and type designer Frederic William Goudy in 1865; German nuclear chemist Otto Hahn, discoverer of nuclear fission, in 1879; actresses Louise Beavers in 1902 and Claire Trevor in 1910; actress/dancer Cyd Charisse in 1921 (age 87); actresses Susan Clark in 1940 (age 68) and Lynn Redgrave in 1943 (age 65); former Monkee Mickey Dolenz in 1945 (age 63); songwriter Carole Bayer Sager in 1947 (age 61); actors Aidan Quinn in 1959 (age 49) and Camryn Manheim in 1961 (age 47); model Kathy Ireland in 1963 (age 45); and actors Freddie Prinze Jr. in 1976 (age 32) and James Van Der Beek in 1977 (age 31).


On this date in history:

In 1913, the Internal Revenue Service began to levy and collect income taxes in the United States.

In 1917, strikes and riots in St. Petersburg marked the start of the Russian Bolshevik revolution.

In 1921, after Germany failed to make its first war reparation payment, French troops occupied Dusseldorf and other towns on the Ruhr River in Germany's industrial heartland.

In 1957, Egypt reopened the Suez Canal to international traffic after Israel withdrew from occupied Egyptian territory.

In 1965, nearly 4,000 U.S. Marines landed in South Vietnam.

In 1990, Colombia's M-19 leftist guerrilla group surrendered its arms, ending 16 years of insurrection.

In 1991, the United States began welcoming home its combat troops from the Persian Gulf.

In 1992, Menachem Begin, the stern, hunted Israeli underground leader who went on to win the Nobel Prize as prime minister for making peace with Egypt, died of heart failure.

In 1996, China fired three missiles into the sea off Taiwan. The United States responded by beefing up its naval presence in the region.

In 1998, James McDougal, a former business partner of then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, died in prison. He had been convicted in connection with the Whitewater land scandal.


In 1999, the U.S. Energy Department fired a Chinese-born computer scientist from the Los Alamos, N.M., National Laboratory in the theft of U.S. nuclear secrets.

Also in 1999, baseball great Joe DiMaggio died at age 84.

In 2002, as more charges of child abuse by Roman Catholic clergy emerged across the United States and dozens of priests resigned or were suspended, the bishop of Palm Beach, Fla., stepped down after admitting he had abused a teenage seminary student in the 1970s. His predecessor had resigned in 1999 admitting he had molested five boys.

In 2003, Israeli helicopters fired missiles at a car in the Gaza Strip, killing a top Hamas leader and three bodyguards.

In 2004, writer and actor Spalding Gray, missing for almost two months, was found in New York's East River, a suspected suicide.

Also in 2004, as revenge killings continued in Haiti, Boniface Alexandre, the Supreme Court chief justice, was named interim president.

In 2005, thousands of Lebanese protested the pullout of Syrian forces.

In 2006, an official of the World Health Organization expressed strong concern that bird flu spreading to humans could cause a massive pandemic.

Also in 2006, three Alabama college students reportedly looking for cheap thrills were arrested on charges they set fire to nine rural Baptist churches.


In 2007, eight children and an adult died in a four-story house fire near Yankee Stadium in New York.

Also in 2007, the House of Commons, the lower chamber of the British Parliament, approved a measure requiring the upper house, the House of Lords, to be elected by the people rather than appointed. Approval by the current House of Lords would be necessary for the change.

A thought for the day: Spencer Johnson said, "Happiness is not having what you want, it's wanting what you have."

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