The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 3, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, Sept. 3, the 247th day of 2008 with 119 to follow.

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 teacher Prudence Crandall, controversial for her efforts to educate black girls, in 1803; architect Louis Sullivan, called the father of the skyscraper, in 1856; automobile designer Ferdinand Porsche in 1875; actor Alan Ladd in 1913; actress/singer Kitty Carlisle in 1910; cartoonist Mort Walker ("Beetle Bailey") in 1923 (age 84); actresses Anne Jackson in 1926 (age 81), Eileen Brennan in 1932 (age 76); Pauline Collins in 1940 (age 67) and Valerie Perrine in 1943 (age 64); and actor Charlie Sheen in 1965 (age 42).

On this date in history:

In 1777, the U.S. flag was flown in battle for the first time, during a Revolutionary War skirmish at Cooch's Bridge, Del.

In 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, officially ending the 7-year American Revolutionary War and recognizing U.S. independence from Britain.

In 1916, the Allies turned back the Germans in the World War I Battle of Verdun.

In 1936, Britain's Malcolm Campbell set a land-speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah, averaging 301.129 mph in two runs.

In 1939, Britain declared war on Germany. Britain was quickly joined by France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.

In 1942, Frank Sinatra began his solo singing career after leaving Tommy Dorsey's orchestra.

In 1991, film director Frank Capra, best known for such feel-good movies as "It Happened One Night" and "It's A Wonderful Life," died at the age of 94.

In 1992, an Italian plane carrying eight people and nearly 10,000 pounds of blankets for Bosnian war victims crashed en route to Sarajevo. Evidence suggested it was shot down.

Also in 1992, Nobel laureate geneticist Barbara McClintock died at 90.

In 1996, the United States fired 27 missiles in Iraq, hitting air defense batteries. Despite criticism from Arab allies and European allies, the United States fired 17 more missiles the next day.

In 1997, Arizona Gov. Fife Symington was convicted of fraud by a federal jury in Phoenix and resigned two days later, becoming the third U.S. governor in recent years to quit because of a criminal conviction.

In 1999, charges were dropped against nine photographers and a motorcyclist in connection with the 1997 crash that killed Britain's Princess Diana.

In 2001, the United States and Israel walked out of the U.N. conference on racism in Durban, South Africa.

In 2004, the 3-day Russian school crisis ended in a bloody 13-hour battle when security forces stormed the Beslan school building after Chechen terrorists opened fire on hostages. At least 350 people, including about 155 children, were reported killed. All but one of the 31 suspected hostage-takers also died.

In 2005, William H. Rehnquist, the chief justice of the United States, died after a long bout with thyroid cancer at the age of 80. He had been on the court since 1971.

In 2006, the Sudanese government launched a fresh offensive in Darfur, once again violating the U.N. resolution demanding an end to the conflict.

In 2007, U.S. President George Bush, in a third visit to Iraq, said some American troops could be withdrawn from the country if security improves.

Also in 2007, Arab tribes in Sudan's western Darfur region were reported fighting among themselves instead of against government-backed militias.

A thought for the day: Louis Sullivan said, "Form ever follows function."

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