The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 12, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, Sept. 12, the 256th day of 2008 with 110 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 Richard Gatling, inventor of the Gatling gun, in 1818; newspaperman Charles Dudley Warner in 1829; critic H.L. Mencken in 1880; French entertainer Maurice Chevalier in 1888; comedian Ben Blue in 1901; bandleader Shep Fields in 1910; U.S. Olympic track star Jesse Owens in 1913; singer/bandleader Eddy Howard in 1914; singer Ella Mae Morse in 1924; actor Ian Holm and country music singer George Jones, both in 1931 (age 77); circus animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams in 1934; actress Linda Gray in 1940 (age 68); singers Maria Muldaur in 1943 (age 65) and Barry White in 1944; and actors Peter Scolari in 1954 (age 54), Rachel Ward in 1957 (age 51) and Darren E. Burrows ("Northern Exposure") in 1966 (age 42).

On this date in history:

In 1609, Henry Hudson discovered what's now known as the Hudson River.

In 1940, near Montignac, France, a collection of prehistoric cave paintings, believed to be 15,000 to 17,000 years old, were discovered by four teenagers who stumbled upon the ancient artwork after following their dog down a narrow entrance into a cavern.

In 1953, six months after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev succeeded him with his election as first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

In 1958, Little Rock High School in Arkansas was ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to admit black students.

In 1969, heavy bombing of Vietnam resumed under orders from U.S. President Richard Nixon.

In 1974, military officers deposed Emperor Haile Selassie from the Ethiopian throne he had occupied for more than half a century.

In 1977, Steven Biko, leader of South Africa's "Black Consciousness Movement," died of severe head trauma on the stone floor of a prison cell in Pretoria. Six days earlier, he had suffered a major blow to his skull during a police interrogation.

In 1990, the four victorious allies of World War II and the two Germanys formally ended the war, signing a treaty that cleared way for a united Germany on Oct. 3.

In 1992, Endeavor rocketed into orbit on NASA's 50th shuttle flight; a $140 million Japanese-sponsored science mission featuring married astronauts and a menagerie of fish, frogs and other critters.

Also in 1992, actor Anthony Perkins, best known for his role of Norman Bates in "Psycho," died of AIDS. He was 60.

In 1994, a pilot crashed his small plane on the White House lawn, killing himself and creating an alarm over presidential security.

In 1999, North Korea agreed to stop testing its long-range ballistic missiles. In response, the United States eased sanctions against the Communist state.

In 2001, the day after the terrorist attacks, as around-the-clock workers continued to search for survivors in the World Trade Center wreckage, U.S. President George Bush was given the go-ahead by a supportive Congress to use all "necessary and appropriate force" needed against those responsible.

In 2002, U.S. President George Bush told the U.N. General Assembly he would work with the U.N. Security Council to meet the challenge from Iraq but said the world must move decisively to deal with the threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

In 2003, the U.S. State Department warned that al-Qaida may be plotting chemical or biological attacks on the United States.

Also in 2003, Mumbai police said they had killed a man suspected of masterminding twin bomb blasts Aug. 25 in India that killed 52 and injured more than 150.

In 2004, Iran announced it planned to start processing 37 tons of uranium yellowcake, which Western intelligence officials estimated could be used to build five nuclear bombs.

In 2005, Michael Brown resigned as head of the beleaguered U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency after being severely criticized for slow federal response to the Katrina devastation in New Orleans and three days after being stripped of his post-hurricane recovery duties.

Also in 2005, the last of the Israeli troops left the Gaza Strip as planned and the Palestinians immediately reclaimed the area Israel had controlled since the 1967 war.

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI, in his first papal trip to his native Bavaria, in Germany, angered Muslims in a speech with a 14th-century quote criticizing Islam, leading to church bombings and other protests. The pope apologized for any offense caused, saying the words didn't reflect his own views.

Also in 2006, four family members were convicted in an Indian court of taking part in 1993 terror bombings in Mumbai that killed 257 people.

In 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned after just one year in office amid a series of financial scandals.

Also in 2007, Russia announced the successful test of a non-nuclear bomb that is reportedly as devastating as an atomic weapon.

A thought for the day: Henry David Thoreau suggested that charity was valued too highly, adding, "and it is our selfishness which overrates it."

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