The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 20, 2009 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Sunday, Sept. 20th, the 263rd day of 2009 with 102 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include Australian nurse Sister Elizabeth Kenny, who pioneered the care of polio victims, in 1886; novelist Upton Sinclair in 1878; Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Arnold Jacob "Red" Auerbach in 1917; fashion designer James Galanos in 1925 (age 84), and actresses Anne Meara in 1929 (age 80), Sophia Loren in 1934 (age 75) and Kristen Johnston in 1967 (age 42).

On this date in history:

In 1519, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan began a voyage to find a western passage to the East Indies.

In 1873, financial chaos forced the New York Stock Exchange to close. It remained closed for 10 days.

In 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival opened on the French Riviera. An earlier attempt to begin the international movie showcase in 1939 was halted by the outbreak of World War II.

In 1966, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II launched the Cunard liner bearing her name, often shortened to QEII, which eventually became the only ocean liner on the once thriving trans-Atlantic route.

In 1984, Muslim terrorists bombed the U.S. Embassy annex in Lebanon, killing 23 people, including two Americans. It was the third terrorist attack on U.S. installations in Beirut in 17 months.

In 1990, a military court convicted Nicu Ceausescu, 39, youngest son of executed former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, of murder.

In 1991, the Cambodian government and three rebel factions agreed on a form of future U.N.-supervised elections.

In 1993, leaders of the three factions fighting in Bosnia broke off negotiations aboard a British aircraft carrier in the Adriatic Sea.

In 2000, the six-year Whitewater investigation of U.S. President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton ended without any indictments being issued. Independent Counsel Robert Ray said there was insufficient evidence to establish criminal wrongdoing.

In 2001, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was named to head the new Department of Homeland Security.

In 2002, Israeli forces demolished all but one building of the office compound of Palestinian chief Yasser Arafat after a suicide bomber killed seven people aboard a Tel Aviv bus.

In 2003, armies of technicians in the mid-Atlantic states worked to restore power to 2.5 million customers still in the dark from Hurricane Isabel. The storm left at least 25 dead in seven states.

In 2004, CBS News said it regretted broadcasting a controversial report about U.S. President George Bush's military service duty, saying its source had misled the network.

In 2005, the Bush administration's disapproval rating reached a reported all-time high of 58 percent in a USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll.

In 2006, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez called U.S. President George Bush "the devil" in a U.N. speech and accused the United States of trying to dominate the world.

Also in 2006, a poll indicated that U.S. voters had an "overwhelmingly negative" opinion of the Republican-led U.S. Congress.

In 2007, Norman Hsu, a major Democratic fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, was charged with defrauding investors of $60 million. Clinton said funds donated on her behalf would be returned.

Also in 2007, Wall Street reports said the U.S. dollar dropped to record lows against the euro in a week of trading, beginning on this date.

In 2008, the White House formally announced a vast bailout plan for U.S. financial institutions including full authority for the Treasury Department to buy up to $700 billion in so-called toxic mortgage-related assets in order to restore confidence among investors and banks reluctant to make loans.

Also in 2008, more than 50 people were killed and hundreds injured when a truck bomb exploded outside the popular Marriot Hotel in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

A thought for the day: American preacher, physician and suffragist Anna Howard Shaw said, "It is better to be true to what you believe, though that be wrong, than to be false to what you believe, even if that belief is correct."

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