The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 25, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, Sept. 25, the 269th day of 2008 with 97 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 Libra. They include novelist William Faulkner in 1897; sports columnist Walter "Red" Smith in 1905; Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich in 1906; actor Aldo Ray in 1926; TV personality Barbara Walters in 1931 (age 77); actor Robert Walden in 1943 (age 65); actor/producer Michael Douglas in 1944 (age 64); actors Mark Hamill ("Star Wars") in 1951 (age 57), Christopher Reeve ("Superman") in 1952, Heather Locklear in 1961 (age 47) and Tate Donovan in 1963 (age 45); actor Will Smith in 1968 (age 40); and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in 1969 (age 38).

On this date in history:

In 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and became the first known European to see the Pacific Ocean.

In 1690, the first American newspaper, called "Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestic," appeared in Boston.

In 1789, the first U.S. Congress adopted 12 amendments to the Constitution. Ten were ratified and became known as "The Bill of Rights."

In 1882, the first major league baseball doubleheader was played between the Providence, R.I., and Worchester, Mass., teams.

In 1957, under escort from the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, nine black students entered all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.

In 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor was sworn in as the first woman U.S. Supreme Court justice.

In 1984, Jordan announced it would restore relations with Egypt, something no Arab country had done since 17 Arab nations broke relations with Cairo over the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979.

In 1991, President Alfredo Christiani of El Salvador and five commanders of the guerrilla forces reached an agreement that was seen as prelude to a cease-fire.

In 1992, a judge in Orlando, Fla., granted a 12-year-old boy's precedent-setting petition to "divorce" his mother.

Also in 1992, NASA launched a $511 million probe to Mars in the first U.S. mission to the planet in 17 years. Eleven months later, the probe would fail.

In 1996, Israeli police opened fire on Palestinians rioting over the new tunnel entrance beneath the Temple Mount. The fighting ended four days later with about 70 killed and hundreds injured.

In 2000, Yugoslav voters rejected incumbent Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in his bid for re-election but he refused to accept the results.

In 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives gave the Federal Trade Commission explicit authority to create a national "do not call" directory to protect against telemarketers and other unwanted telephone calls.

In 2004, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights said more than 1 million people relocated by the Darfur conflict in Sudan were living in a "climate of fear."

In 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Hurricane Rita pushed more water over crippled New Orleans-area levees that had unleashed devastating flooding to much of the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina a month earlier but didn't create additional structural damage.

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI met with Muslim leaders at his summer home outside Rome and called for "inter-religious" dialogue. The pope had been criticized by angry Muslims over a speech he gave in Germany.

In 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assured the United Nations in a New York address that Iran wouldn't allow "arrogant powers" to force it to give up its nuclear program. Earlier, he was denied permission to lay a wreath at the World Trade Center memorial and accused of behaving like "a petty and cruel dictator" by the president of Columbia University where he also spoke.

Also in 2007, Warren Jeffs, head of a splinter Mormon sect that practiced polygamy. was convicted in Utah of being an accomplice to rape in the forced marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin against her will.

A thought for the day: Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso said, "Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth."

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