The almanac

By United Press International  |  March 17, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, March 17, the 77th day of 2008 with 289 to follow.

This is St. Patrick's Day.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include German engineer Gottlieb Daimler, inventor of the gasoline-burning internal combustion engine, in 1834; children's author and illustrator Kate Greenaway in 1846; golf legend Bobby Jones in 1902; singer/pianist Nat "King" Cole in 1919; ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev in 1938; actors Patrick Duffy in 1949 (age 59), Kurt Russell in 1951 (age 57), Lesley-Anne Down in 1954 (age 54), Gary Sinise in 1955 (age 53), Rob Lowe in 1964 (age 44), and Vicki Lewis in 1960 (age 48); soccer star Mia Hamm in 1972 (age 36); and Caroline Corr, of the Irish pop band The Corrs, in 1973 (age 35).

On this date in history:

In 1762, New York City staged the first parade honoring the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It was led by Irish soldiers serving in the British army.

In 1776, the Continental Army under Gen. George Washington forced British troops to evacuate Boston.

In 1901, 71 paintings by the late Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh were shown at the Bernheim-Jeune gallery in Paris and caused a sensation across the art world.

In 1945, the bloody World War II battle against Japanese forces for the Pacific island of Iwo Jima ended in victory for the United States.

In 1958, the U.S. Navy launched the satellite Vanguard 1 into orbit around the Earth.

In 1978, the tanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground on the coast of Brittany in France, eventually spilling 220,000 tons of crude oil.

In 1992, South African whites voted to end minority rule.

Also in 1992, 10 people were killed and at least 126 injured in a bomb blast that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In 1999, the International Olympic Committee voted to expel six members in connection with the bribery scandal related to the effort by Salt Lake City, Utah, to win the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Five other IOC members had earlier resigned.

In 2000, Smith & Wesson, the nation's oldest and largest maker of handguns, agreed to a wide array of restrictions in exchange for ending some lawsuits that threatened to bankrupt the company.

In 2003, as war with Iraq seemed a certainty, U.S. President George W. Bush gave Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons 48 hours in which to leave the country but the ultimatum was rejected. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ordered all U.N. personal out of Iraq.

In 2004, more than 25 people were reported killed and 41 injured in a car-bomb blast at the Mount Lebanon Hotel in Baghdad.

In 2005, several major league baseball players told the U.S. Congress that steroids were a problem in the sport.

In 2006, a U.S. appeals court ruled that the Environmental Protection Administration cannot exempt older power plants and refineries from the Clean Air Act, voting unanimously against the Bush administration's interpretation of the law.

Also in 2006, General Motors said its actual losses the year before were $10 billion, some $2 billion more than previously reported.

In 2007, the Palestinian legislature approved the Hamas-dominated unity government though leaders of the Hamas and Fatah factions remained divided on Israeli issues.

A thought for the day: George Washington wrote, "Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."

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