The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Wednesday, Dec. 3, the 338th day of 2008 with 28 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include presidential portrait painter Gilbert Stuart in 1755; U.S. Weather Bureau meteorologist Cleveland Abbe, who initiated daily weather bulletins, in 1838; English novelist Joseph Conrad in 1857; country singer Ferlin Husky in 1925 (age 83); singer Andy Williams in 1927 (age 81); rocker Ozzy Osbourne in 1948 (age 60); former race car driver Rick Mears in 1951 (age 57); actresses Daryl Hannah and Julianne Moore, both in 1960 (age 48); Olympic figure skater Katarina Witt in 1965 (age 43); and actors Brendan Fraser in 1968 (age 40) and Brian Bonsall in 1981 (age 27).


On this date in history:

In 1833, Oberlin College in Ohio opened with an enrollment of 29 men and 15 women, the nation's first truly co-educational college.

In 1929, the Ford Motor Co. raised the pay of its employees from $5 to $7 a day despite the collapse of the U.S. stock market.

In 1948, the first news of the Whittaker Chambers spy case disclosed that microfilm of secret U.S. documents was found in a pumpkin on the former magazine editor's Maryland farm, allegedly for delivery to a communist power.

In 1967, Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant at Cape Town, South Africa.

In 1984, poison gas leaked at a Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India. The world's most deadly chemical disaster was eventually blamed for 2,889 deaths.

In 1990, soldiers seized Argentina's army headquarters two days before U.S. President George H.W. Bush was due to visit. The rebellion was quickly put down.

In 1992, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to authorize a U.S.-led multinational force to Somalia.

Also in 1992, Roman Catholic officials in Boston agreed to pay compensation to 68 people who claimed they were sexually abused 25 years ago by priest James Porter.


In 1995, South Korean police arrested former president Chun Doo-hwan on charges of orchestrating the December 1979 military coup that helped him to power.

In 1997, delegates from 131 countries met in Ottawa, Canada, to sign the Convention on the Prohibition, Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines. The United States, Russia and China weren't among the 212 nations that signed.

In 2001, responding to a new wave of Palestinian suicide bombings, Israel struck the West Bank with planes, helicopter gunships, tanks and bulldozers, firing missiles into Yasser Arafat's headquarters.

In 2003, an international court in Tanzania convicted three Rwandan media executives of genocide for inciting a 1984 killing spree by machete-wielding gangs accused of slaughtering about 800,000 Tutsis.

In 2004, the death toll from a series of storms in the Philippines stood at a reported 568 with hundreds missing.

Also in 2004, Ukraine's top court invalidated the Nov. 21 presidential election and said it was fraught with fraud. A new election was set for Dec. 26.

In 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union charged the CIA with violating U.S. and international human rights laws by transporting terrorist suspects to other countries for interrogation in secret prisons.

In 2006, Hugo Chavez, an outspoken critic of U.S. President George Bush and U.S. foreign policy, was re-elected president of Venezuela.


In 2007, a new estimate by U.S. intelligence says Iran halted its nuclear bomb program in 2003 but adds Tehran "is keeping open the option to develop" such weapons.

Also in 2007, the British schoolteacher jailed by Sudan for allowing her 7-year-old students to name a class teddy bear "Mohammed," an act perceived by Muslims as an Islam insult, was pardoned and released after serving about half her 15-day sentence. Gillian Gibbons, 54, returned to England and began looking for a new job.

A thought for the day: poet Stella Benson said, "Call no man foe, but never love a stranger."

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