The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Friday, Sept. 26, the 270th day of 2008 with 96 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 frontier nurseryman "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman in 1774; poet T.S. Eliot in 1888; German philosopher Martin Heidegger in 1889; actor George Raft in 1895; Pope Paul VI in 1897; composer George Gershwin in 1898; bandleader Ted Weems in 1901; country singers Marty Robbins in 1925 and Lynn Anderson in 1947 (age 61); actress Mary Beth Hurt and singer Olivia Newton-John, both in 1948 (age 60); actresses Linda Hamilton in 1956 (age 52) and Melissa Sue Anderson in 1962 (age 46); and tennis star Serena Williams in 1981 (age 27).


On this date in history:

In 1777, British troops occupied Philadelphia.

In 1950, U.N. troops took the South Korean capital of Seoul from North Korean forces.

In 1960, the first televised presidential debate aired from a Chicago TV studio. It featured presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon.

In 1983, the yacht Australia II won the America's Cup from the United States, ending the longest winning streak in sports -- 132 years.

In 1984, China and Britain initialed an accord to return Hong Kong to Chinese control when Britain's lease expires in 1997.

In 1990, the Motion Picture Association of America, under pressure from legitimate filmmakers, adopted the "NC-17" rating -- no children under 17 allowed -- to replace the "X" rating exploited by the porn industry.

In 1991, four men and four women entered the huge, airtight greenhouse Biosphere II in Arizona. They remained inside for two years, emerging on this date in 1993.

In 1994, the high-profile double murder trial of football legend O.J. Simpson, accused of killing his ex-wife and a friend, began in Los Angeles. He eventually was acquitted.

In 1996, the space shuttle Atlantis landed, bringing astronaut Shannon Lucid to Earth. Her six-month tour aboard the Mir space station set a record for a woman in space, as well as a record stay for any U.S. astronaut.


In 2005, emergency officials say Hurricane Rita heavily damaged every house in several coastal Louisiana towns. Widespread flooding left Cameron Parish near the Texas border 15 feet under water and Iberia Parish officials said 3,000 houses were flooded.

Also in 2005, U.S. Army Pfc. Lynndie England, photographed in widely distributed pictures with inmates at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, was convicted of conspiracy and prisoner abuse. She was sentenced to three years in prison two days later.

In 2006, the Bush administration released portions of a U.S. intelligence report that concluded the war in Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism. The report said that although U.S. efforts had "seriously damaged" the leadership of al-Qaida, terrorists are emerging in a global jihadist movement.

In 2007, ending a walkout that lasted less than two days, the United Auto Workers union and General Motors reached a deal in which GM agreed to create a $38.5 billion trust to administer health benefits for retirees.

A thought for the day: poet T.S. Eliot said, "We know too much and are convinced of too little. Our literature is a substitute for religion, and so it our religion."

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