The almanac

By United Press International  |  Nov. 12, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, Nov. 12, the 317th day of 2008 with 49 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include French physicist Jacques Charles in 1746; women's suffrage activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1815; Baha'u'llah (born Mirza Husayn Ali), founder-prophet of the Baha'i faith, in 1817; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun in 1908; singer Jo Stafford in 1917; actress Kim Hunter in 1922; Princess Grace of Monaco, the former American movie star Grace Kelly, in 1929; rock musician Neil Young in 1945 (age 63); actress Megan Mullally in 1958 (age 50); Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci in 1961 (age 47); and baseball star Sammy Sosa in 1968 (age 40).

On this date in history:

In 1799, the first North American meteor shower on record took place. Early American astronomer Andrew Ellicott Douglass said, "The whole heaven appeared as if illuminated with sky rockets."

In 1892, the first professional football game was played in Pittsburgh. The Allegheny Athletic Association defeated the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, 4-0. (Touchdowns at the time were worth 4 points.)

In 1941, the German army's drive to take Moscow was halted on the city's outskirts in World War II.

In 1948, a war crimes tribunal in Japan sentenced former premier Hideki Tojo and six other World War II Japanese leaders to death by hanging.

In 1980, the Voyager 1 spacecraft passed Saturn and sent back stunning pictures.

In 1981, the shuttle Columbia became the first spacecraft launched twice from Earth.

In 1982, former KGB chief Yuri Andropov succeeded the late Leonid Brezhnev as general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.

Also in 1982, Polish authorities freed Solidarity founder Lech Walesa after 11 months of imprisonment.

In 1990, Akihito was crowned the 125th emperor of Japan.

In 1991, about 50 people were killed when Indonesian troops opened fire on protesters in the province of Timor Leste.

In 1992, Volker Keith Meinhold became the first openly gay person on active duty in the U.S. military when, armed with a court order, he reported to work at Moffett Naval Air Station in Mountain View, Calif., for reinstatement as a chief petty officer.

In 1993, pop star Michael Jackson, hounded by allegations that he had molested a teenage boy, canceled the rest of his worldwide "Dangerous" tour, citing an addiction to painkillers.

In 1997, Ramzi Ahmed and Eyad Ismoil were convicted of involvement in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York. Four other men had been convicted in 1994.

In 2001, an American Airlines Airbus crashed shortly after takeoff from JFK Airport in New York. More than 260 people died in the crash.

In 2002, a tape surfaced from suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden in which he warned U.S. allies to be ready for the consequences of supporting Washington against his al-Qaida network.

In 2003, actor Art Carney, who won fame and Emmy Awards as sewer worker Ed Norton on the "Honeymooners" TV show in the 1950s and an Oscar in 1974 for "Harry and Tonto," died at age 85.

In 2004, the Palestinian people gave their leader Yasser Arafat an emotional, chaotic farewell, disrupting official burial plans in Ramallah on the West Bank.

In 2005, al-Qaida reportedly named Queen Elizabeth II of England "one of the severest enemies of Islam," said to be justification for July bombings in London.

In 2007, the U.S. attorney in San Francisco opened a criminal investigation into a shipping accident that dumped 58,000 gallons of oil into the bay after a fog-bound bridge collision.

Also in 2007, police in Jokela, Finland, said they believed a teenager who killed eight high school classmates may have had Internet contact with a Philadelphia youth who was arrested for planning a similar attack.

A thought for the day: women's suffrage activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal."

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