The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Friday, July 3, the 184th day of 2009 with 181 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 actor, singer, composer George M. Cohan in 1878; Welsh poet and writer William Henry Davies ("The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp") in 1871; Czech novelist Franz Kafka in 1883; actor George Sanders in 1906; journalist and columnist Dorothy Kilgallen in 1913; Jerry Gray, band leader, arranger for Glenn Miller, in 1915; English filmmaker Ken Russell in 1927 (age 82); jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain in 1930 (age 79); English playwright Tom Stoppard in 1937 (age 72); humorist Dave Barry and actress Betty Buckley both in 1947 (age 62); exiled Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier in 1951 (age 58); talk show host Montel Williams in 1956 (age 53); pop singer Laura Branigan in 1957; and actors Tom Cruise and Thomas Gibson ("Dharma & Greg"), both in 1962 (age 47).


On this date in history:

In 1608, French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded the Canadian town of Quebec.

In 1775, George Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Mass.

In 1863, the Union army under command of Gen. George Meade defeated Confederate forces commanded by Gen. Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg, Pa. The same day, Vicksburg, Miss., surrendered to Union troops led by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

In 1928, the first color television transmission was accomplished by John Logie Baird in London.

In 1971, rock star Jim Morrison, 27, was found dead in a bathtub in Paris of heart failure.

In 1976, Israeli commandos raided the airport at Entebbe, Uganda, rescuing 103 hostages held by Arab militants.

In 1986, U.S. President Ronald Reagan re-lit the Statue of Liberty's torch in New York Harbor after a $66 million restoration of the statue was completed during the 100th anniversary year of its dedication.

Also in 1986, Rudy Vallee, one of the nation's most popular singers in the 1920s and '30s, died at the age of 84.

In 1988, missiles fired from the USS Vincennes brought down an Iranian airliner in the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people aboard.


In 1992, the U.S. Air Force joined the international airlift of food and medical supplies to besieged residents of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In 1993, exiled Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide and Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, who led the coup in 1991 that ousted him, announced an agreement that would put Aristide back in power by October. Cedras later broke the agreement.

In 1996, Boris Yeltsin was re-elected president of Russia, defeating Gennadi Zyuganov in a runoff.

In 2000, blasts caused by suicide bombers in Chechnya killed at least 37 Russian soldiers.

In 2005, water temperatures in the lower Great Lakes were reported at a five-year high.

In 2007, the Czech Republic tentatively granted the United States permission to install missile-defense radar 50 miles from Prague as part of the U.S. plan to protect itself and its European allies from potential attacks.

Also in 2007, a three-month standoff turned violent between Pakistani police and radical students who had taken over an Islamabad mosque. At least nine people died.

In 2008, after being held for nearly six years by Colombian rebels, 15 hostages, including three U.S. military contractors and French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, were freed by commandos who had infiltrated the rebels' leadership.


Also in 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 62,000 American jobs were lost during June, the sixth consecutive month of job losses.

A thought for the day: Gustave Flaubert said, "Of all lies, art is the least untrue."

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