The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 13, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, Sept. 13, the 257th day of 2008 with 109 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 U.S. Army bacteriologist Walter Reed in 1851; Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing, hero of World War I, in 1860; author Sherwood Anderson in 1876; English author J.B. Priestly in 1894; actress Claudette Colbert in 1903; Bill Monroe, the "father of bluegrass" music, in 1911; author Roald Dahl in 1916; singer Mel Torme in 1925; TV producer Fred Silverman in 1937 (age 71); "Miss Manners" Judith Martin in 1938 (age 70); actor Richard Kiel in 1939 (age 69); singer/songwriter Peter Cetera in 1944 (age 64); actress Jacqueline Bisset in 1944 (age 64); singer/actress Nell Carter in 1948; and actors Jean Smart in 1951 (age 57) and Ben Savage in 1980 (age 28), and Olympic track gold medalist Michael Johnson in 1967 (41).

On this date in history:

In 1759, in the French and Indian War, the British defeated the French near the city of Quebec.

In 1788, Congress authorized the first U.S. national election, to be conducted "the first Wednesday in January next (1789)."

In 1814, during the British attack on Fort McHenry, Md., Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

In 1922, the temperature at El Azizia, Libya, reached 136 degrees F., generally accepted as the world's highest recorded atmospheric temperature.

In 1971, New York state forces stormed and regained control of Attica state prison in a riot that killed 42 people.

In 1991, the United States and Soviet Union declared they would cease arms sales to Afghanistan.

In 1993, in a dramatic ceremony at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat signed a declaration of principles for Palestinian self-rule.

In 1996, the Dow closed at more than 5,838, a record high.

In 1998, George Wallace, former Alabama governor, presidential candidate and one of the most controversial politicians in U.S. history, died in Montgomery, Ala., at the age of 79.

In 1999, at least 118 people were killed in the bombing of a Moscow apartment building. The blast was the latest in a series of explosions blamed on terrorists from the breakaway republic of Chechnya.

In 2000, Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee, accused of stealing sensitive nuclear weapons data, was freed after serving nine months in prison.

In 2001, airports closed after the terrorist attacks began reopening but Logan Airport in Boston, where two of the hijacked planes took off, and Reagan National in Washington remained closed.

In 2002, two U.S. Air Force pilots whose bombs had killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan were charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault.

In 2003, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell flew to Iraq for his first official visit to meet with the new 25-member governing council.

In 2005, the owners of a New Orleans-area nursing home where 34 residents died during Katrina flooding were charged with 34 counts of negligent homicide. Officials said the residents apparently had been left to fend for themselves against the rising waters.

Also in 2005, U.S. President George Bush said he took responsibility for "serious problems" in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina. He said he wanted to look forward to recovery and do assessments later.

In 2007, Indonesian officials say the country was hit by 60 earthquakes and aftershocks in a 24-hour period following the deadly and destructive 8.4 quake that rattled Sumatra.

A thought for the day: Washington Irving said, "There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place."

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