The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Tuesday, March 31, the 90th day of 2009 with 275 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include French philosopher Rene Descartes in 1596; Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn in 1732; German chemist Robert Bunsen, inventor of the Bunsen gas burner, in 1811; boxer Jack Johnson, the first black to hold the heavyweight title, in 1878; comedian Henry Morgan in 1915; actor/singer Richard Kiley in 1922; author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia in 1924; United Farm Workers President Cesar Chavez in 1927; actor William Daniels, also in 1927 (age 82); former National Hockey League star Gordie Howe in 1928 (age 81); fashion designer Liz Claiborne in 1929; author John Jakes in 1932 (age 77); actress Shirley Jones in 1934 (age 75); trumpeter/bandleader Herb Alpert (The Tijuana Brass) in 1935 (age 74); actors Richard Chamberlain in 1934 (age 75), Christopher Walken in 1943 (age 66), Gabe Kaplan in 1945 (age 64) and Rhea Perlman in 1948 (age 61); former U.S. Vice President Al Gore Jr. also in 1948 (age 61); and actors Ed Marinaro in 1950 (age 59) and Ewan McGregor in 1971 (age 38).


On this date in history:

In 1889, the Eiffel Tower was dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by its designer, Gustave Eiffel, during the Universal Exhibition of Arts and Manufacturers.

In 1948, the U.S. Congress passed the Marshall Aid Act, a plan to rehabilitate war-ravaged Europe.

In 1954, the U.S. Air Force Academy was established at Colorado Springs, Colo.

In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Chinese-occupied Tibet and was granted political asylum in India.

In 1968, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced he wouldn't seek re-election and simultaneously ordered suspension of U.S. bombing of North Vietnam.

In 1971, U.S. Army Lt. William Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the deaths of 22 Vietnamese civilians in what was called the My Lai massacre.

In 1987, the U.S. State Department ordered home all 28 remaining U.S. Marine guards at the Moscow embassy after two Marines were charged with espionage.

In 1991, the Warsaw Pact formally ended as Soviet commanders surrendered their powers in an agreement between pact members and the Soviet Union.

In 1992, the U.N. Security Council voted to impose air traffic and weapons sanctions against Libya for not surrendering six men wanted by the United States, Britain and France in the bombings of a U.S. jetliner and a French plane.


In 1994, a state of emergency was declared in the South African Zulu homeland of KwaZulu following deadly fighting in the weeks before the country's first universal-suffrage elections.

In 1998, the U.N. Security Council voted to impose an arms embargo on Yugoslavia after unrest in the Serbian province of Kosovo turned violent.

In 2001, Serbian police and security forces attempted to arrest former President Slobodan Milosevic at his home in Belgrade on charges of corruption while in office. Supporters forced a stand-off that lasted until the next day when Milosevic surrendered peacefully.

In 2003, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri called on U.S. and British forces to withdraw immediately from Iraq because Iraqis were determined to "inflict the final defeat."

In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled the United States breached the rights of 51 Mexicans on death row by not telling them they had consular access.

In 2005, Terri Schiavo, a 41-year-old Florida woman in a persistent vegetative state since 1990, died 14 days after removal of her feeding tube amid a heart-wrenching legal struggle over her fate reaching to the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2006, rescue workers searched for more victims of a capsized cruise boat during a Persian Gulf party. Fifty-seven people were reported dead and 67 rescued.


In 2007, a U.S. air raid, car bombs and random killings reportedly killed at least 55 people across Iraq.

Also in 2007, Pakistan successfully tested its Hataf-II Abdali ballistic missile, believed capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

In 2008, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen proposed long-term federal reforms aimed at overhauling regulation of the American financial system.

Also in 2008, the head of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department, Alphonso Jackson, announced his resignation. He had been under investigation for alleged favoritism in awarding housing contracts.

And, the Dow Jones industrials closed at 12,262.89, down 7.6 percent since the end of 2007. It was the worst quarterly performance in five years.

A thought for the day: J.W. Fulbright said, "In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects."

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