The almanac

By United Press International  |  March 4, 2009 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, March 4, the 63rd day of 2009 with 302 to follow.

The moon is waxing. 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 Pisces. They include composer Antonio Vivaldi in 1678; Polish-born American patriot Casimir Pulaski in 1747; legendary Notre Dame football Coach Knute Rockne in 1888; actor John Garfield in 1913; actress/singer Barbara McNair in 1934; English auto racing champion Jimmy Clark in 1936; actress Paula Prentiss in 1939 (age 70); actress Kay Lenz and musician/producer Emilio Estefan, both in 1953 (age 56); and actors Catherine O'Hara in 1954 (age 55) and Steven Weber in 1961 (age 48).

On this date in history:

In 1681, to satisfy a debt, England's King Charles II granted a royal charter, deed and governorship of Pennsylvania to William Penn.

In 1789, the U.S. Congress met for the first time, in New York City.

In 1801, Thomas Jefferson became the first president to be inaugurated in Washington.

In 1917, Jeanette Rankin, a Montana Republican, was sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives. She was the first woman to serve in Congress.

In 1958, the U.S. atomic submarine Nautilus reached the North Pole by passing beneath the Arctic ice cap.

In 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan acknowledged his administration swapped arms to Iran for U.S. hostages and said, "It was a mistake."

In 1991, the first allied prisoners of war were released as Iraq began complying with the terms of the official U.N. cease-fire.

In 1993, a Virginia boy who sawed off his hand while earning $4 an hour sued his parents for $2 million for letting him use a circular saw.

In 1994, four men were found guilty in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

In 1996, a bombing at a shopping mall in Tel Aviv, Israel, killed 14 people.

In 1999, a U.S. Marine pilot whose plane had snapped a ski-lift cable high in Italy, killing 20 people, was acquitted of charges of involuntary homicide and manslaughter.

In 2002, after more than 40 people died violently in a week, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he aimed to kill as many Palestinians as possible to force negotiation.

In 2003, Philippine authorities blamed two bombings on the island of Mindanao on Islamic separatists. Twenty-two people, including a U.S. missionary, were killed and 150 injured in one blast and one died and three were hurt in the other.

In 2004, as U.S. Marines mobilized and patrolled the streets of downtown Port-au-Prince, rebel forces proclaiming themselves Haiti's reinvented military after the president fled said they would lay down their weapons.

In 2005, homemaking guru Martha Stewart returned home after serving five months in a federal prison for conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding and making false statements to federal investigators and began five months of home confinement.

In 2006, the Pentagon opened a new criminal investigation into the reported 2004 friendly fire death of U.S. soldier and former pro football star Pat Tillman in Afghanistan.

In 2007, Sunni insurgents killed and wounded hundreds of Shiite Muslim pilgrims traveling to the holy city of Karbala in Iraq. At least 77 died at Hilla in the worst of the four-day series of attacks.

Also in 2007, U.S. soldiers were accused of killing 16 civilians on a road near Jalalabad in Afghanistan following a suicide bombing attack.

In 2008, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., clinched the Republican nomination for U.S. president with primary wins in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois remained a slim front-runner over Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York in the tight Democratic contest.

A thought for the day: Thomas Jefferson said, "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."

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