The almanac

By United Press International  |  March 12, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, March 12, the 72nd day of 2008 with 294 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include pioneer automaker Clement Studebaker in 1831; New York Times publisher Adolph Ochs in 1858; actor/singer Gordon MacRae in 1921; novelist Jack Kerouac in 1922; astronaut Wally Schirra in 1923; playwright Edward Albee in 1928 (age 80); former U.N. Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young in 1932 (age 76); singer/songwriter Al Jarreau in 1940 (age 68); actress Barbara Feldon in 1932 (age 76); singer Liza Minnelli in 1946 (age 62); singer/songwriter James Taylor in 1948 (age 60); and former baseball player Darryl Strawberry in 1962 (age 46).

On this date in history:

In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scouts of America troop in Savannah, Ga.

In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi began a campaign of civil disobedience against British rule in India.

In 1933, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the first of his Sunday evening "fireside chats" -- informal radio addresses from the White House to the American people.

In 1938, Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Austria.

In 1947, in a speech to Congress, U.S. President Harry Truman outlined what became known as the Truman Doctrine, calling for U.S. aid to countries threatened by communist revolution.

In 1963, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to grant former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill honorary U.S. citizenship.

In 1990, Exxon pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to pay a $100 million fine in a $1.1 billion settlement of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Also in 1990, South African President F.W. de Klerk introduced legislation to revise land tenure laws and end racial discrimination in land ownership.

In 1993, more than 250 people were killed when a wave of bombings rocked Mumbai.

In 1994, the Church of England ordained its first women priests.

In 1999, former Soviet allies the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO.

In 2000, Pope John Paul II apologized for the errors of the Roman Catholic Church during the past 2,000 years.

In 2001, six people, including five Americans, were killed when an errant bomb from a U.S. Navy fighter jet exploded at an observation post in Kuwait.

In 2002, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, speaking after Israeli raids killed 31 Palestinians, declared that Israel must end its "illegal occupation" of Palestinian land. That night, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

And in 2002, the Boston archdiocese said it would have to sell church property, take out loans and seek donations from wealthy supporters to cover the $100 million in settlements of lawsuits against priests in sexual abuse cases.

In 2003, Elizabeth Smart, 15, who had been kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home on June 2002, was found alive in the custody of a panhandler and his wife in nearby Sandy, Utah.

Also in 2003, the premier of Serbia, Zoran Djindjic, died after being shot by assassins.

In 2004, millions of Spaniards protested the Madrid train bombings of the day before that killed 191 and wounded more than 1,000 others.

In 2005, Iran rejected Washington's willingness to offer economic incentives if the Islamic state gives up its nuclear program.

Also in 2005, a gunman killed seven people and himself at an evangelical church meeting near Milwaukee.

In 2006, Iraq violence claimed at least 70 lives, including nearly 50 who died in six car bombings in Baghdad's major Shiite stronghold. Hundreds were wounded.

In 2007, Raul Castro, who eventually would succeed his ailing brother Fidel Castro as Cuban president, suggested he was open to diplomatic talks with the United States.

A thought for the day: Andrew Young told Playboy magazine, "Once the Xerox copier was invented, diplomacy died."

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