The almanac

By United Press International  |  Feb. 15, 2009 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Sunday, Feb. 15, the 46th day of 2009 with 319 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei in 1564; jeweler Charles Tiffany in 1812; feminist pioneer Susan B. Anthony in 1820; political leader and diplomat Elihu Root in 1845; philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead in 1861; songwriter Harold Arlen in 1905; actors John Barrymore in 1882, Cesar Romero in 1907, Harvey Korman in 1927 and Claire Bloom in 1931 (age 77); astronaut Roger Chaffee, killed in a fire on the ground during a 1967 Apollo I test, in 1935; actress Marisa Berenson in 1947 (age 62); actress Jane Seymour and singer Melissa Manchester, both in 1951 (age 58); "Simpsons" cartoonist Matt Groening in 1954 (age 55); comedian Chris Farley in 1964; and actress Renee O'Connor in 1971 (age 38).

On this date in history:

In 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine exploded in Havana harbor, killing 260 crewmen and leading to a U.S. declaration of war against Spain.

In 1933, U.S. President-elect Franklin Roosevelt narrowly escaped assassination in Miami when a fanatic fired several bullets at him, fatally wounding Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak in the attack.

In 1942, the British bastion of Singapore surrendered to the Japanese army.

In 1965, Canada adopted a new national flag featuring a maple leaf emblem.

In 1982, the oil-drilling rig Ocean Ranger capsized and sank in a storm off Newfoundland. All 84 people aboard were lost.

In 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush attended a drug summit in Colombia with the presidents of Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.

Also in 1990, Washington Mayor Marion Barry was indicted on eight counts of perjury and drug possession.

In 1991, Iraq announced that it was ready to withdraw from Kuwait but added a number of conditions, including Israel's return of the occupied territories.

Also in 1991, 100 people were killed when a tractor-trailer hauling dynamite overturned and exploded in Thailand.

In 1997, Tara Lipinski, 14, defeated defending women's champion Michelle Kwan to become the youngest U.S. figure skating champion.

In 2002, discovery of a human skull in a wooded area near a crematory in Georgia led investigators to remains of more than 300 bodies that were to have been cremated but instead were stacked in sheds and in the woods.

In 2003, millions of people demonstrated against war in cities around the world, including New York, San Francisco, London, Paris and Berlin.

In 2004, two fires in eastern China killed a reported 90 people.

In 2005, a U.S. appeals court in Washington ruled that journalists have no First Amendment privilege to protect confidential sources.

In 2006, a U.S. House of Representatives report sharply criticized government response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster for what it called "mistakes, misjudgments, lapses and absurdities."

In 2007, the U.S. Senate averted a Washington showdown and a federal government shutdown by approving a $463.5 billion spending plan.

In 2008, Steve Fossett, the millionaire commodities trader turned record-breaking aviator, was declared legally dead, five months after he vanished while flying in Nevada. Fossett, 63, set three round-the-world records and other plane and balloon marks.

A thought for the day: Warren Miller said, "Don't take life seriously because you can't come out of it alive."

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