The almanac

United Press International

Today is Thursday, Sept. 4, the 248th day of 2008 with 118 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 French novelist and politician Francois Rene de Chateaubriand in 1768; architect Daniel Burnham in 1846; engineer-inventor Lewis Latimer in 1848; composer Darius Milhaud in 1892; novelist and essayist Richard Wright in 1908; bandleader Jan Savitt in 1913; radio news commentator Paul Harvey in 1918 (age 90); actor Dick York ("Bewitched") in 1928; dancer/actress Mitzi Gaynor in 1931 (age 77); pro golfer Tom Watson in 1949 (age 59); actress Judith Ivey in 1951 (age 57); comedian Damon Wayans in 1960 (age 48); and actress Ione Skye, daughter of pop singer Donovan, in 1971 (age 37).

On this date in history:

In 1609, navigator Henry Hudson discovered the island of Manhattan.


In 1954, the first passage of the fabled Northwest Passage was completed by icebreakers from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.

In 1957, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus called out the National Guard to prevent nine African-American students from entering Central High School in Little Rock.

Also in 1957, the Ford Motor Co. introduced the Edsel to beef up its mid-size market but the car was a failure, lasting only three model years.

In 1972, U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz became the first athlete to win seven gold medals in a single Olympic Games.

In 1980, Iraqi troops seized Iranian territory in a border dispute. The conflict escalated into all-out war.

In 1991, South African President F.W. de Klerk proposed a new constitution. It provided for universal voting rights and opened the parliament to all races.

In 1993, Fatah, the PLO's largest and most moderate faction, endorsed an accord with Israel calling for interim Palestinian self-rule.

In 1995, U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., a Republican presidential hopeful, called for English to be declared the official language of the United States.

In 1998, for the first time since news of his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky broke, U.S. President Bill Clinton said he was "sorry" for what he had done.


In 1999, more than 60 people were killed when Chechen terrorists detonated a car bomb near an apartment building in Dagestan, Russia.

Also in 1999, after East Timor voted for independence rather than remaining a part of Indonesia, hundreds died in a 5-day rampage by pro-Indonesian militants.

In 2002, U.S. President George Bush said he would seek congressional approval for any military move on Iraq. He also promised to consult with allies, some of whom were opposed to his "regime change" plan.

In 2004, an Argentine court in Buenos Aires acquitted five suspects in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people and injured 300.

In 2005, New Orleans officials completed evacuation of Hurricane Katrina survivors from the Superdome and convention center -- a total of 42,000 in one day. There still were 2,000 people reported at the airport and another 1,000 trapped in attics of their flooded buildings. While reports of violence were down, four people died in a shootout with police near the crash of a civilian helicopter.

In 2006, Steve Irwin, Australia's internationally renowned "Crocodile Hunter" TV star, was killed by a stingray barb to the heart while he was filming underwater.

Also in 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he was abandoning plans to unilaterally pull Israeli troops out of the West Bank.


In 2007, Hurricane Felix made landfall in northern Nicaragua as a Category 5 storm packing sustained winds of 160 mph. It was expected to weaken as it moved over land.

A thought for the day: Enoch Arnold Bennett said, "Pessimism, when you get used to it, is just as agreeable as optimism."

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