The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Friday, March 27, the 86th day of 2009 with 279 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include printmaker Nathaniel Currier, of Currier and Ives, in 1813; German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen, discoverer of X-rays, in 1845; schoolteacher Patty Smith Hill, who wrote the words for "Happy Birthday to You," in 1868; photographer Edward Steichen in 1879; architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1886; actor Gloria Swanson in 1899; jazz singer Sarah Vaughan in 1924; actor Michael York in 1942 (age 67); filmmaker Quentin Tarantino in 1963 (age 46); and singer Mariah Carey in 1970 (age 39).

On this date in history:

In 1958, Nikita Khrushchev replaced Nikolai Bulganin as premier of the Soviet Union.

In 1964, a powerful earthquake in Alaska killed 117 people. It was the strongest quake to hit North America.

In 1977, two Boeing 747 jumbo jets collided and exploded in flames on a foggy runway in the Canary Islands, killing 577 people in the worst aviation disaster in history.


In 1980, a Norwegian oil platform capsized during a storm in the North Sea, killing 123 people.

In 1990, Soviet soldiers dragged Lithuanian army deserters from a hospital in Vilnius and took over the headquarters of Lithuania's independent Communist Party in an effort to reassert Moscow's control over the dissident Baltic republic.

In 1996, an Israeli court convicted Yigal Amir of assassinating Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and sentenced him to life in prison.

In 2002, a suicide bomber killed himself and 19 Israelis attending a Passover meal at a hotel in Netanya. More than 100 others were injured.

In 2003, U.S. President George Bush, seeking to calm concerns that the war in Iraq is proving tougher than expected after its first week, said the United States and Britain will battle Saddam Hussein's forces "however long it takes to win."

Also in 2003, health officials said 1,408 people in 14 countries had been stricken with severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and 53 had died, including at least 34 in China.

In 2004, NASA reported its unmanned experimental hypersonic plane reached about 5,000 mph in a test flight -- more than seven times the speed of sound.

In 2005, ailing Pope John Paul II appeared at his apartment window before an Easter crowd in St. Peter's Square but was unable to speak. He silently blessed thousands of pilgrims who wept and cheered.


Also in 2005, about 1 million chanting demonstrators converged on Taiwan's capital to protest China's Anti-Secession Law.

In 2006, a U.S. Senate committee approved a plan designed to legalize the United States' 11 million illegal immigrants.

Also in 2006, a suicide bomber outside a police recruiting center in northern Iraq killed at least 30 people and wounded 30 others.

In 2007, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice brokered a deal between Israeli and Palestinian leaders to meet twice a week to address security issues.

Also in 2007, leaders of Myanmar, formerly Burma, staged a military parade to show off their new capital city, Naypyidaw.

In 2008, violence raged around Baghdad and in southern Iraq where clashes between Iraqi security forces and rebel militia members killed at least 100 people, military officials said.

A thought for the day: Eden Phillpotts said, "The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."

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