The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 9, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Tuesday, Sept. 9, the 253rd day of 2008 with 113 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include the Duc de Richelieu, French statesman and Roman Catholic cardinal, in 1585; Capt. William Bligh of the HMS Bounty, in 1754; Russian author Leo Tolstoy in 1828; Alf Landon, the Kansas Republican who lost the 1936 presidential election to Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1887; Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Harland Sanders in 1890; composer Arthur Freed in 1894; oddsmaker Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder in 1919; actor Cliff Robertson in 1925 (age 83); rhythm & blues singer Otis Redding in 1941; and actors Tom Wopat in 1951 (age 57), Angela Cartwright in 1952 (age 56), Hugh Grant in 1960 (age 48) and Adam Sandler in 1966 (age 42).

On this date in history:

In 1776, the second Continental Congress officially changed the new American nation's name from "United Colonies" to "United States."

In 1850, California became the 31st state.

In 1956, rock 'n' roll singer Elvis Presley appeared on national television for the first time, on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

In 1971, more than 1,000 convicts took over the state prison at Attica, N.Y. and held 35 convicts hostage. Four days later, 28 convicts and nine hostages were killed as state police reclaimed the prison.

In 1976, Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong died at age 82.

In 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in a quickly arranged summit in Helsinki, Finland, to present a united front against Iraq.

Also in 1990, Liberian President Samuel Doe was captured and killed by Prince Johnson's rebels after visiting the headquarters of West African peacekeeping forces in Monrovia.

In 1991, Iraq grounded foreign helicopters carrying U.N. weapons-plant inspectors.

In 1993, in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the PLO recognized the right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security. In turn, Rabin declared the PLO the representative of the Palestinian people.

In 1994, the United States and Cuba reached an agreement aimed at discouraging Cubans from trying to flee to the United States by rafts or other vessels.

In 1995 sports, Steffi Graf of Germany defeated Monica Seles and won her fourth U.S. Open women's singles title in her first appearance since a fan stabbed her in 1993.

In 1996, Susan McDougal was jailed for contempt after she refused to appear before the Whitewater grand jury on the grounds that she thought the special counsel was out to get the Clintons.

In 1998, independent counsel Kenneth Starr sent to the U.S. House of Representatives his report on his investigation into U.S. President Bill Clinton. He said it contained "substantial and credible information ... that may constitute grounds" for impeachment.

In 1999, more than 90 people died in the bombing of a Moscow apartment building. The blast was blamed on terrorists from the breakaway republic of Chechnya.

In 2001 sports, Venus Williams defeated her sister Serena for the U.S. Open tennis championship, 6-2, 6-4, the first time since 1884 that sisters had met in a Grand Slam finale.

In 2003, The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Boston and lawyers for about 550 victims of sexual abuse by priests reached an agreement that could run as high as $85 million.

In 2004, U.S. President George Bush urged the United Nations and the international community to put a stop to the violence in Sudan where reported genocide in the Darfur region led to the deaths of an estimated 50,000 people over the past 18 months.

In 2005, Michael Brown, the embattled director of FEMA, roundly criticized for its slow response to Hurricane Katrina, was replaced as hurricane relief coordinator by U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen.

In 2006, both Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said they were ready to meet with no preconditions. A U.N. report said meanwhile more than 1,000 Palestinian refugees were unable to return home because of Israeli incursions in south Gaza.

In 2007, Britain planned to draw down its strength in Iraq by 250 during the next month with another 250 soldiers sent home in the near future. Britain had about 5,500 troops in Iraq.

A thought for the day: former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca said, "A country's competitiveness starts not on the factory floor or in the engineering lab. It begins in the classroom."

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