The almanac

By United Press International  |  Nov. 17, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, Nov. 17, the 322nd day of 2008 with 44 to follow.

The moon is waning. 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 King Louis XVIII of France in 1755; German astronomer and mathematician August Mobius in 1790; social reformer Grace Abbott in 1878; British army Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in 1887; drama teacher/actor Lee Strasberg in 1901; actor Rock Hudson in 1925; balladeer Gordon Lightfoot in 1938 (age 70); film director Martin Scorsese in 1942 (age 66); model/actress Lauren Hutton in 1943 (age 65); actor/director Danny DeVito and "Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels in 1944 (age 64); actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in 1958 (age 50), and model/actor RuPaul in 1960 (age 48).

On this date in history:

In 1734, John Peter Zenger, who founded America's first regularly published newspaper, was arrested for allegedly libeling the colonial governor of New York.

In 1800, the U.S. Congress convened in Washington for the first time.

In 1869, the Suez Canal in Egypt was opened, linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

In 1881, Samuel Gompers organized the forerunner of the American Federation of Labor.

In 1969, strategic arms limitation talks, also known as SALT, began between the United States and the Soviet Union in Helsinki, Finland.

In 1989, riot police in Prague, Czechoslovakia, stormed into a crowd of more than 20,000 pro-democracy demonstrators, beating people with truncheons and firing tear gas.

In 1992, an appeals court in Washington ruled the Watergate tapes and Nixon presidential papers rightfully belonged to U.S. President Richard Nixon when he left office in 1974.

In 1993, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Also in 1993, Nigeria Defense Minister Sani Abacha announced he had dissolved the government and declared himself the nation's ruler.

In 1997, 60 people were killed when six Islamic militants opened fire on a group of tourists at Luxor, Egypt.

In 2002, the first thorough examination of many of President John F. Kennedy's medical records found he was in far greater pain and taking many more medications than the public knew at the time.

In 2003, accused Washington sniper John Muhammad was convicted of capital murder by a jury in Virginia Beach, Va. The state sought the death penalty.

In 2004, President Vladimir Putin announced Russia was developing a new missile system.

Also in 2004, Pakistani authorities announced an Islamic militant wanted in connection with the killing of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl had been killed in a shootout with police.

In 2005, U.S. Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a decorated Vietnam veteran and ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations Committee who supported the 2003 invasion, called for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved marketing of silicone gel-filled breast implants, ending a 14-year moratorium on the devices.

In 2007, scientists meeting in Spain warned of a rapid rise in sea levels and the extinction of more species if governments failed to act on global climate change.

Also in 2007, at least 30 bodies wrapped in black plastic and dead for some time were found in a mass grave a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad.

A thought for the day: As Jane Ace put it, "Time wounds all heels."

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