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The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Sunday, March 29, the 88th day of 2009 with 277 to follow.

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

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Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include John Tyler, 10th president of the United States, in 1790; baseball pitching legend Cy Young in 1867; Eugene McCarthy, the Minnesota Democrat whose 1968 presidential campaign focused U.S. opposition to the Vietnam War, in 1916; actress/singer Pearl Bailey, and Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, both in 1918; former British Prime Minister John Major and actor Eric Idle, both in 1943 (age 66); former pro basketball star Walt Frazier in 1945 (age 64); Karen Ann Quinlan, who became the focus of arguments over the "right to die" when she fell into an irreversible coma, in 1954; gymnast Kurt Thomas in 1956 (age 53); actors Christopher Lambert in 1957 (age 52) and Lucy Lawless in 1968 (age 41); and tennis star Jennifer Capriati in 1976 (age 33).


On this date in history:

In 1812, the first wedding was performed in the White House. Lucy Payne Washington, sister-in-law of U.S. President James Madison, married Supreme Court Justice Thomas Dodd.

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In 1971, U.S. Army Lt. William Calley was found guilty in the killing of 22 civilians in Vietnam, an event known as the "My Lai massacre."

Also in 1971, cult leader Charles Manson and three followers were sentenced to death in the infamous Tate-Labianca slayings in Los Angeles. The death sentence was later ruled unconstitutional and the four were re-sentenced to life in prison.

In 1973, the last U.S. troops left South Vietnam and the last U.S. prisoners of war acknowledged by the North Vietnamese government were freed.

In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations released its final report on the assassinations of U.S. President John Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

In 1991, six-time Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti quit, paving the way for the country's 50th government since World War II.

In 1994, Bosnian Serbs stepped up their bombardment of Gorazde, 35 miles southeast of Sarajevo and one of the U.N.-designated "safe areas."

In 1996, the U.S. House of Representatives ethics committee said Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., violated House rules by having close dealings with a wealthy GOP donor with business interests affected by congressional action. It was the third time in two months the panel said Gingrich had broken the rules.

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In 2003, Iraq introduced a new tactic in its war with the U.S.-led coalition when a suicide bomber blew up his taxi and killed four U.S. soldiers near Najaf.

Also in 2003, a Newsweek poll, published 10 days after the start of the Iraq war, showed 74 percent of Americans thought the Bush administration had a well thought-out military plan. Other polls showed otherwise, however, and there were anti-war demonstrations around the world.

In 2005, an independent panel investigating the U.N. Iraq Oil-for-Food Program cleared U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan of any wrongdoing but faulted his son and top aides.

In 2006, Duke University's men's lacrosse season was suspended pending a police investigation into allegations three team members raped a woman at a party.

Also in 2006, acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima Party narrowly won the national election, taking 28 seats, forcing it into a coalition situation.

In 2007, sectarian violence flared in Iraq as 60 people were reported killed in a Baghdad Shiite neighborhood and more than 30 others died in coordinated attacks in the Shiite town of Khlais. Earlier, about 140 were reported dead in Tal Afar violence.

In 2008, a heavy turnout of Zimbabwean voters decided the future of President Robert Mugabe who has been in power since 1980. He faced his toughest challenge yet in opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.

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Also in 2008, Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr's Mehdi Army retained control of Basra in southern Iraq despite the massive assault by Iraqi troops.

And, Puerto Rican Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila pleaded innocent to corruption charges linked to alleged illegal campaign fundraising.


A thought for the day: Martin Luther King Jr. said, "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

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