The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Saturday, June 21, the 173rd day of 2008 with 193 to follow.

This is the first day of summer.


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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include philosopher and author Jean-Paul Sartre in 1905; actors Jane Russell in 1921 (age 86), Maureen Stapleton in 1925, Bernie Kopell ("The Love Boat") in 1933 (age 75), Monte Markham in 1935 (age 73) and Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter, both in 1947 (age 61); actress/TV host Mariette Hartley in 1940 (age 68); comic actor Joe Flaherty in 1941 (age 67); actor Robert Pastorelli in 1954; actress Juliette Lewis in 1973 (age 35); and Britain's Prince William in 1982 (age 26).

On this date in history:

In 1788, the U.S. Constitution became effective when the ninth state, New Hampshire, ratified it.

In 1945, Japanese defenders of Okinawa Island surrendered to U.S. troops.


In 1964, three civil rights workers disappeared on their way to investigate a church burning in Philadelphia, Miss. Their bodies were found buried in an earthen dam Aug. 4.

In 1982, John Hinckley Jr. was found innocent by reason of insanity in the March 1981 shooting of U.S. President Ronald Reagan and three other people.

In 1972, Hurricane Agnes hit the eastern seaboard, wreaking havoc across seven states. A total of 118 people died in the storm.

In 1984, the United States said that an explosion in May at a Soviet navy supply depot 900 miles north of Moscow had apparently killed more than 200 people.

In 1985, international experts in Sao Paulo, Brazil, conclusively identified the bones of a 1979 drowning victim as the remains of Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele, ending a 40-year search for the "angel of death" of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

In 1990, an earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale struck northwestern Iran, killing as many as 50,000 people.

In 1997, Cambodia announced the capture of former Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot.

In 1998, opposition leader Andres Pastrana Arango was elected president of Colombia by a narrow margin.


In 2000, NASA announced that its Mars Global Surveyor had spotted grooved surface features, suggesting a relatively recent water flow on the planet.

In 2002, as the Roman Catholic Church tried to deal with reports of sexual abuse among the clergy, a priest in Texas was arrested on charges that two years earlier he had raped a woman who was seeking advice.

In 2003, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," fifth book in J.K. Rowling's blockbuster series about a young wizard, hit the book stores and sold 5 million copies the first day.

Also in 2003, an Arizona wildfire that had exceeded 6,300 acres threatened the resort town of Oracle for a time with more than 700 firefighters on the scene.

In 2004, Connecticut Gov. John Rowland resigned as he faced possible impeachment charges in a scandal involving state contractors.

Also in 2004, guerrillas stormed three towns in the Russian republic of Ingushetta, killing a reported 97 people.

In 2005, a Mississippi jury convicted an 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klan leader of manslaughter in the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers. Edgar Ray Killen was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

In 2006, the U.S. military charged seven Marines and a Navy corpsman with kidnapping and killing an Iraqi civilian in the town of Hamdaniya two months earlier.


In 2007, U.S. President George Bush's public approval rating hit a low, 26 percent, in the latest Newsweek poll, while Congress' rating was 25 percent. In the past 35 years, only Richard Nixon had a lower Newsweek approval rating -- 23 percent in 1974.

Also in 2007, the U.S. Senate approved a bill requiring auto makers to raise fuel-economy averages to 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

A thought for the day: Confucius said, "The only people who cannot change are the most wise and the most stupid."

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