The almanac

United Press International

Today is Friday, June 26, the 177th day of 2009 with 188 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include reputed baseball pioneer Abner Doubleday in 1819; British physicist and inventor William Kelvin in 1824; novelist Pearl Buck in 1892; German aircraft designer Willy Messerschmitt in 1898; William Lear, developer of the Lear jet, in 1902; actor Peter Lorre in 1904; "Colonel" Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, in 1909; athlete Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias in 1911; actor/musician Chris Isaak in 1956 (age 53); cyclist Greg LeMond in 1961 (age 48); and actors Chris O'Donnell and Sean P. Hayes ("Will & Grace"), both in 1970 (age 39).

On this date in history:

In 1900, Dr. Walter Reed and his medical team began a successful campaign to wipe out yellow fever in the Panama Canal Zone.

In 1917, the first troops of the American Expeditionary Force reached France in World War I.

In 1939, film censors approved "Gone With The Wind" but fined Producer David O. Selznick $5,000 for objectionable language in Rhett Butler's famous closing line to Scarlett O'Hara: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."


In 1945, the U.N. Charter was signed by representatives of 50 nations.

Also in 1945, the FCC began development of commercial television by allocating airwaves for 13 TV stations.

In 1959, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II formally opened the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada.

In 1974, the bar code, allowing for the electronic scanning of prices, was used for the first time on a pack of gum at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio.

In 1976, the CN Tower, the world's tallest freestanding structure (1,815 feet, 5 inches), opened in Toronto.

In 1977, 42 people died in a county jail fire in Columbia, Tenn.

In 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush discarded his "no new taxes" campaign pledge, saying "it is clear to me" taxes are needed as part of deficit-reduction package.

In 1991, 120 people drowned after an Indonesian trawler and an unidentified ship collided in the Straits of Malacca.

In 1992, U.S. Navy Secretary H. Lawrence Garrett resigned, accepting responsibility for the "Tailhook" incident involving the harassment of Navy women by naval aviators.

Also in 1992, Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, the target of public wrath for the Rodney King beating, resigned.

In 1993, in response to an Iraqi plot to assassinate former U.S. President George H.W. Bush during a visit to Kuwait, two U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf fired missiles at Iraq's intelligence complex. The main headquarters building was badly damaged.


In 1995, an attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak failed during his visit to Ethiopia.

In 2000, two rival groups of scientists announced they had deciphered the genetic code, the human genome.

In 2002, the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance recited in schools was unconstitutional because of the phrase "under God." The ruling was stayed pending appeal.

In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court gave a major boost to gay rights advocates by striking down a Texas law forbidding sexual activity between same-sex partners.

In 2005, six months after the Indian Ocean tsunami, the death toll stood at 178,000 in 11 countries with another 50,000 people missing and presumed dead.

In 2006, Israel put on a military show of strength in the Gaza Strip following a bloody Palestinian militant raid on a military post and kidnapping of a soldier.

In 2007, German prosecutors sought to try 13 U.S. intelligence agents who allegedly kidnapped a German citizen in 2003. It's the second case in Europe centered on the controversial U.S. "extraordinary rendition" practice in which terror suspects arrested in one country can be transported to another with fewer prisoner rights for questioning. A trial of 26 CIA agents in Italy was reported on hold.


In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5 to 4, that the Constitution protects an individual's right to carry a gun for private use but insisted that the ruling did nothing to alter the ban on gun ownership by felons or the mentally ill or carrying a gun into such "sensitive" areas as schools or government buildings.

Also in 2008, North Korea officials handed over to China a list of its nuclear facilities. In exchange, the United States removed North Korea from its list of countries that sponsor terrorism and lifted some sanctions.

A thought for the day: Tennessee Williams wrote, "All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness."

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