The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 17, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, Sept. 17, the 261st day of 2008 with 105 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include 1940s radio news commentator Gabriel Heatter in 1890; Irvin Westheimer, who founded the American "Big Brothers" movement, in 1879; former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger in 1907; country music pioneer Hank Williams Sr. in 1923; actor Roddy McDowall in 1928; actresses Anne Bancroft in 1931 and Dorothy Loudon in 1933; author Ken Kesey in 1935; U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter in 1939 (age 69); Hall of Fame basketball coach Phil Jackson in 1945 (age 63); cartoonist Jeff MacNelly in 1947; actor John Ritter in 1948; movie hostess Elvira, whose real name is Cassandra Peterson, in 1951 (age 57); and actress/comedian Rita Rudner in 1956 (age 52).

On this date in history:

In 1787, the U.S. Constitution, completed in Philadelphia, was signed by a majority of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

In 1862, Union forces led by Gen. George McClellan attacked Confederate troops led by Gen. Robert E. Lee near Antietam Creek in Maryland. McClellan blocked Lee's advance on Washington, but fell short of victory.

In 1939, Soviet troops invaded Poland, 16 days after Nazi Germany moved into the same country.

In 1976, NASA unveiled its first space shuttle, the Enterprise, an aircraft-like spacecraft costing almost $10 billion that took nearly a decade to develop.

In 1978, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Accords, laying the groundwork for a permanent peace agreement between Egypt and Israel after three decades of hostilities.

In 1983, Vanessa Williams of New York became the first African American to be named Miss America. She resigned 11 months later after nude photos were published but regained stardom as a singer and actress.

In 1991, North Korea, South Korea, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were admitted to the United Nations.

In 1993, Cambodia's two leading political parties agreed that Prince Norodom Sihanouk would lead the nation. Sihanouk was installed as king a week later.

In 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton sent a three-man delegation headed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to Haiti on what would prove a successful mission to persuade the ruling junta to step down.

In 1997, the U.S. Department of Defense announced a one-day suspension of all training flights for safety instruction and a review of procedures following a series of crashes of military aircraft.

In 2001, U.S. President George Bush said Osama bin Laden, the suspected ringleader in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was "wanted dead or alive" as Bush continued efforts to line up international support for his proposed "war on terror."

In 2002, U.S. President George Bush asked Congress for authority to use force against Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said meanwhile that several nations had pledged military support for offensive action against Iraq.

In 2003, modifying earlier statements, U.S. President George Bush said he had no evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

In 2004, the death toll from Hurricane Ivan was put at 38 in the United States and 75 in at the Caribbean.

In 2005, a car bomb in Baghdad killed at least 30 people. In another part of town, the bodies of nine men were found shot and tortured.

Also in 2005, New Orleans residents who ran businesses in the French Quarter, the central district and Uptown were allowed to return under a strict curfew.

In 2006, the Federal Drug Administration reported 109 cases of potentially fatal E .coli in spinach in 19 states with at least one death. The outbreak was believed to have originated in California.

In 2007, U.S. President George Bush nominated Michael Mukasey, a retired federal judge, to succeed the controversial, resigned Alberto Gonzales as U.S. attorney general.

Also in 2007, Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, quoted odds of better than 1-in-3 that the United States will have a recession soon.

A thought for the day: French aviator and writer Antoine Marie Roger de Saint-Exupery said, "Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction."

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