The almanac

By United Press International  |  Nov. 18, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Tuesday, Nov. 18, the 323rd day of 2008 with 43 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 French philosopher and writer Pierre Bayle in 1647; German composer Carl von Weber and English composer Henry Bishop ("Home Sweet Home"), both in 1786; French physicist Louis Daguerre, inventor of daguerreotype photography, in 1787; English playwright W.S. Gilbert, libretto writer for the comic operas of composer Arthur Sullivan, in 1836; Polish composer Ignace Paderewski in 1860; conductor Eugene Ormandy in 1899; pollster George Gallup in 1901; comedic actress Imogene Coca in 1908; songwriter Johnny Mercer in 1909; astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space, in 1923; and actors Brenda Vaccaro in 1939 (age 69), Linda Evans in 1942 (age 66), Jameson Parker in 1947 (age 61), Kevin Nealon in 1953 (age 55) and Elizabeth Perkins in 1960 (age 48).

On this date in history:

In 1477, "The Sayings of the Philosophers" was published, the earliest known book printed in England to carry a date.

In 1883, the United States adopted Standard Time and set up four zones -- Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific.

In 1928, Mickey Mouse made his screen debut in the landmark "Steamboat Willie" at the Colony Theater in New York City. The Walt Disney cartoon was the first with synchronized sound.

In 1963, push-button telephones made their debut. Touch-tone service was available as an option for an extra charge.

In 1978, more than 900 people died in a mass suicide-murder led by the Rev. Jim Jones at the People's Temple commune in Guyana, following the slaying of U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif. It was the largest mass suicide in modern history.

In 1991, the Lebanese Shiite Muslim faction the Islamic Jihad freed Church of England envoy Terry Waite and U.S. professor Thomas Sutherland.

In 1994, Palestinian police opened fire on Islamic militants outside a mosque in the Gaza Strip, sparking riots that killed at least 14 people and injured 200.

In 1996, Harold Nicholson, a 16-year CIA veteran, was arrested for spying.

In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the state's prohibition against same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.

In 2004, Britain outlawed fox hunting in England and Wales.

In 2005, suicide bombings killed more than 50 people in Iraq, most of them in or near two Shiite mosques near the Iranian border. Debate raged on in Washington over the U.S. military presence.

In 2006, a Connecticut woman who pleaded guilty to sending cookies loaded with rat poison to the U.S. Supreme Court was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In 2007, authorities in Bangladesh upped the death toll from Cyclone Sidr to at least 2,000 people. Many more were reported missing and some 600,000 were believed homeless from the vicious storm that ruined much of the country's food supply.

Also in 2007, a methane explosion in a Ukrainian coal mine killed at least 88 miners with about a dozen others reported missing, officials said.

A thought for the day: Ogden Nash said,

"Maybe I couldn't be dafter,

"But I keep wondering if this time we couldn't settle our differences before a war instead of after."

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