The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Monday, June 30, the 182nd day of 2008 with 184 to follow.

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 English socialist leader Harold Laski in 1893; actress Susan Hayward and singer Lena Horne (age 91) in 1917; actress Nancy Dussault in 1936 (age 72); singer Florence Ballard of The Supremes in 1943; actors William Atherton in 1947 (age 61) and David Alan Grier in 1955 (age 53); and former heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson in 1966 (age 42).

On this date in history:

In 1859, Frenchman Jean Francois Gravelet, known professionally as the Great Blondin, became the first daredevil to walk across Niagara Falls on a tight rope.


In 1870, Ada Kepley became the first woman to graduate from an accredited law school in the United States, Union College of Law in Chicago.

In 1908, a spectacular explosion occurred over central Siberia, probably caused by a meteorite. The fireball reportedly could be seen hundreds of miles away.

In 1923, jazz pioneer Sidney Bechet made his first recording. It included "Wild Cat Blues" and "Kansas City Blues."

In 1934, German leader Adolf Hitler ordered a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he feared might become political enemies.

In 1936, Margaret Mitchell's Civil War novel "Gone With the Wind" was published.

In 1950, U.S. troops were moved from Japan to help defend South Korea against the invading North Koreans.

In 1982, the extended deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment expired, three states short of the 38 needed for passage.

In 1971, three Soviet Cosmonauts, crewmembers of the world's first space station, were killed when their spacecraft depressurized during re-entry.

In 1986, Hugh Hefner, calling his Playboy Bunny a "symbol of the past," closed Playboy Clubs in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

In 1992, Fidel Ramos was inaugurated as the eighth Philippine president in the first peaceful transfer of power in a generation.


In 1998, a casualty of the Vietnam War buried at the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington, Va., was identified as Air Force Lt. Michael Blassie of St. Louis.

In 1999, Clinton crony Webster Hubbell, a former associate U.S. attorney general, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in the Whitewater land deal scandal.

In 2000, the Clinton administration said Iraq restarted its missile program and flight-tested a short-range ballistic missile.

Also in 2000, the Presbyterian Church ordered its ministers not to conduct same-sex unions.

In 2002, published reports said fugitive terrorist leader Osama bin Laden wrote his operations chief in late December saying he survived the U.S. assault on his cave complex in Afghanistan.

Also in 2002, Israel announced it had killed a top Hamas bomb-maker, responsible for the deaths of more than 100 Israelis in suicide attacks and had begun work on an electronic fence designed to block off three sides of Jerusalem from the West Bank.

In 2003, after agreeing on a cease-fire with the Palestinians, Israel pulled out of most of the Gaza Strip, ending for the time being a blockade on the main highway that began in 2000.

In 2004, the Federal Reserve, for the first time in four years, raised its benchmark interest rate from a record low 1 percent to 1.25 percent for overnight loans.


Also in 2004, the Cassini spacecraft, in space on a U.S.-European mission, became the first device to orbit the planet Saturn.

In 2005, the Federal Reserve raised key interest rates a ninth straight time, noting rising energy prices.

Also in 2005, Israel declared the Gaza Strip a closed military zone. All Israelis, except for residents, service providers and reporters, were barred from entering.

And, Spain became the third country to legalize same-sex marriage.

In 2006, a joint U.S.-Canadian investigation grounded a group accused of using helicopters and planes to ferry drugs from British Columbia across the border. Agents reported arresting 46 people and seizing 4 tons of marijuana, 800 pounds of cocaine, aircraft and $1.5 million in cash.

In 2007, many U.S. airports increased security in advance of the Fourth of July holiday. Meanwhile, a car blew up at Glasgow airport in Scotland after two British bomb threats the day before prompting authorities to raise the security level to "critical."

A thought for the day: Bertrand Russell argued that "Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it."

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