The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 2, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Tuesday, Sept. 2, the 246th day of 2008 with 120 to follow.

This is the first day of Ramadan.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include poet Eugene Field in 1850; American inventor Hiram Maxim, who invented the first portable automatic machine gun, in 1869; authors Cleveland Amory in 1917 and Allen Drury in 1918; dancer Marge Champion in 1919 (age 89); Christa McAuliffe, the school teacher who became an astronaut but was killed when the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff in 1986, in 1948; pro football star/sportscaster Terry Bradshaw in 1948 (age 60); actor Mark Harmon in 1951 (age 57); tennis champion Jimmy Connors in 1952 (age 56); actors Keanu Reeves in 1964 (age 44) and Selma Hayek in 1966 (age 42).

On this date in history:

In 1666, the Great Fire of London began. It destroyed 13,000 houses in four days.

In 1935, a hurricane hit the Florida Keys, killing more than 350 people.

In 1945, Japan signed an unconditional surrender aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, formally ending World War II.

In 1983, Moscow admitted to the Sept. 1 shooting down of a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747, killing all 269 people aboard, but said the jumbo jet intentionally invaded Soviet air space.

In 1991, the European Community-approved plan to end the civil war in Yugoslavia was accepted by the Yugoslav federal presidency. But federal forces renewed their offensive against Croatia.

In 1992, more than 100 people were killed when earthquake-spawned tidal waves swept Pacific coast villages in Nicaragua.

In 1997, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 257.36 points for its largest one-day point gain ever, closing at 7,879.

In 1998, a Swissair jetliner en route from New York to Geneva, Switzerland, crashed off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. All 229 people aboard were killed.

In 1999, the Clintons bought a home in the New York suburb of Chappaqua for $1.7 million, establishing residency for first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, planning a run for the U.S. Senate.

In 2004, President George W. Bush accepted the GOP nomination for re-election, promising to build a "safer world and a more hopeful America."

In 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush sharply criticized relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and pledged the situation would improve.

Also in 2005, the European Commission called for uniform rules for deporting illegal immigrants and refugees who are denied asylum in member countries.

In 2006, Canadian troops under NATO control and Afghan forces launched an offensive in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar Province amid evidence of renewed Taliban influence.

In 2007, the death toll from flooding in Bihar, India, rose to 556 but all major rivers were reported to be receding.

Also in 2007, the Lebanese army defeated Palestinian Islamic militants based at a refugee camp in northern Lebanon, climaxing a 3-month siege that killed more than 400 people.

A thought for the day: Logan Pearsall Smith said, "There are few sorrows, however poignant, in which a good income is of no avail."

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