The almanac

By United Press International
Subscribe | UPI Odd Newsletter

Today is Wednesday, March 11, the 70th day of 2009 with 295 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include silent movie star Dorothy Gish in 1898; bandleader Lawrence Welk in 1903; former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1916; civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy in 1926; media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 1931 (age 78); television newsman Sam Donaldson in 1934 (age 75); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 1936 (age 73); musician Bobby McFerrin and filmmaker Jerry Zucker ("Airplane!," the "Naked Gun" movies), both in 1950 (age 59); author Douglas Adams ("Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy") in 1952; and actresses Alex Kingston ("ER") in 1963 (age 46) and Thora Birch in 1982 (age 27).


On this date in history:

In 1824, the U.S. War Department created the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

In 1845, John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, died in Allen County, Ind.

In 1861, In Montgomery, Ala., delegates from South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas adopted the Permanent Constitution of the Confederate States of America.

In 1888, more than 200 people died as a four-day snowstorm crippled New York City.

In 1918, the first cases of "Spanish" influenza were reported in the United States. By 1920, the virus had killed as many as 22 million people worldwide, 500,000 in the United States.

In 1930, William Howard Taft became the first former U.S. president to be buried in the national cemetery at Arlington, Va.

In 1941, the Lend Lease Bill to help Britain survive attacks by Germany was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1942, after struggling against great odds to save the Philippines from Japanese conquest, U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur abandoned the island fortress of Corregidor under orders from U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, leaving behind 90,000 U.S. and Filipino troops.

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev, 54, succeeded Konstantin Chernenko as leader of the Soviet Union.


In 1990, the Lithuanian Parliament declared the Baltic republic free of the Soviet Union and called for negotiations to make secession a reality.

Also in 1990, Gen. Augusto Pinochet stepped down as president of Chile, making way for an elected civilian leader for first time since the 1973 coup.

In 1993, Janet Reno won unanimous U.S. Senate approval to become the first female U.S. attorney general.

In 2001, one of the worst weeks in Wall Street history began with a 436.37-point -- 4.1 percent -- decline in the Dow Jones industrial average. By week's end, all the major indexes were down 6 percent.

In 2003, published reports said a six-man Arab ministerial committee planned to travel to Baghdad to ask Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to step down and go into exile.

In 2004, 10 bombs exploded almost simultaneously on four commuter trains in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people and injuring 1,400.

In 2005, an accused rapist allegedly grabbed a gun from a sheriff's deputy in an eighth-floor Atlanta courtroom and killed a judge, a court reporter and a deputy. A federal agent later died as the suspect, Brian Nichols, made his escape. Nichols surrendered the next day after holding a woman hostage overnight.


In 2006, Slobodan Milosevic, former president of Yugoslavia on trial for war crimes, was found dead in his cell at The Hague, an apparent heart attack victim.

Also in 2006, more than 100,000 immigrants and supporters rallied in Chicago in opposition to a federal bill that would put a fence at Mexico's border.

And, in France, proposed new labor reform legislation sparked student riots across the nation.

In 2007, French President Jacques Chirac announced his retirement after more than 40 years in politics.

In 2008, the Federal Reserve outlined a $200 billion program that lets the biggest U.S. banks borrow Treasury securities at discount rates in an effort to avert a financial crisis.

Also in 2008, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, Adm. William Fallon, often at odds with the Bush administration over the war in Iraq, abruptly announced his retirement.

A thought for the day: U.S. President William Howard Taft said, "The constitutional purpose of a budget is to make government responsive to public opinion and responsible for its acts."

Latest Headlines