The almanac

By United Press International  |  Feb. 21, 2009 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, Feb. 21, the 52nd day of 2009 with 313 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 day are under the sign of Pisces. They include Mexican revolutionary and military commander Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (conqueror of the Alamo) in 1794; Roman Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman in 1801; German bacteriologist August von Wassermann, who developed the blood test for syphilis, in 1866; classical guitarist Andres Segovia in 1893; poet and author W.H. Auden in 1907; filmmaker Sam Peckinpah in 1925; humorist Erma Bombeck in 1927; actors Rue McClanahan in 1934 (age 75), Gary Lockwood in 1937 (age 72) and Tyne Daly in 1946 (age 63); film/record executive David Geffen in 1943 (age 66); Tricia Nixon Cox, daughter of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, in 1946 (age 63); actors Kelsey Grammer in 1955 (age 54), Christopher Atkins in 1961 (age 48), William Baldwin in 1963 (age 46),and Jennifer Love Hewitt in 1979 (age 30); and singer Charlotte Church in 1986 (age 23).

On this date in history:

In 1828, a printing press later used to print the first newspaper for American Indians arrived at the Cherokee Council in Echota, Ga.

In 1878, the New Haven, Conn., Telephone Company published the first phone directory. It listed 50 subscribers.

In 1885, the Washington Monument, a 555-foot-high marble obelisk built in honor of America's revolutionary hero and first president, was dedicated in Washington.

In 1916, the Germans launched the Battle of Verdun, World War I's single longest battle. It lasted almost 10 months and left more than 1 million soldiers on both sides dead.

In 1934, Nicaraguan guerrilla leader Cesar Augusto Sandino was killed by members of the Nicaraguan national guard.

In 1965, Black Muslim leader Malcolm X was assassinated at a rally in New York City.

In 1994, longtime CIA counterintelligence officer Aldrich Ames and his wife were arrested and charged with selling information to the Soviet Union and Russia.

In 1995, a Russian commission estimated as many as 24,400 civilians had died in the two-month uprising in the separatist republic of Chechnya.

In 2003, Israel sent troops supported by tanks, armored personnel carriers, jeeps and bulldozers into the Gaza Strip, setting up security checks and closing off roads to Palestinians.

In 2005, heavy snowfall in Indian-controlled Kashmir claimed more than 100 lives with dozens missing.

Also in 2005, leaders of the world's 78 million Anglicans, including U.S. Episcopalians, met in Northern Ireland to consider the growing division over homosexuality.

In 2006, U.S. President George Bush said he would veto any congressional attempt to derail a controversial deal allowing a Middle Eastern company owned by the United Arab Emirates to run six major U.S. seaports. Lawmakers demanded the deal be blocked.

In 2007, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he wanted to start returning some of the country's 7,200 soldiers home from Iraq by the end of the year.

Also in 2007, nuclear neighbors India and Pakistan signed a treaty in New Delhi aimed at preventing the accidental use of atomic weapons.

In 2008, still wary of train bombings that shook the 2004 general elections, Spain has put security forces on maximum alert early for its 2008 vote on March 9. Nearly 200 people died in the March 11, 2004, terrorist attack in Madrid.

A thought for the day: David Russell said, "The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn."

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