The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 24, 2009 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, Sept. 24, the 267th day of 2009 with 98 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 Libra. They include novelist Horace Walpole in 1717; John Marshall, fourth chief justice of the United States, in 1755; French chemist Georges Claude, inventor of the neon lamp, in 1870; novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1896; sports announcer Jim McKay in 1921; actors/singers Sheila MacRae in 1924 (age 85) and Anthony Newley in 1931; Muppet creator Jim Henson in 1936; singer/photographer Linda Eastman McCartney, wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, in 1941; actor Gordon Clapp ("NYPD Blue") in 1948 (age 61); comedian Phil Hartman in 1948; and actor Kevin Sorbo in 1958 (age 51).

On this date in history:

The Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed by Congress and signed by President George Washington, establishing the Supreme Court of the United States as a tribunal made up of six justices who were to serve on the court until death or retirement. The number of justices became nine in 1869.

In 1929, aviator James Doolittle demonstrated the first "blind" takeoff and landing, using only instruments to guide his aircraft.

In 1942, as World War II raged, popular bandleader Glenn Miller ended his long-running radio show and announced he was going into the U.S. Army. He was succeeded on radio by Harry James.

In 1959, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev met at Camp David, Md.

In 1986, the U.S. Congress adopted the rose as the national flower.

In 1993, in an address at the United Nations, South African black leader Nelson Mandela called for the lifting of remaining international economic sanctions against South Africa.

In 1994, it was reported that CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames had exposed 55 secret U.S. and allied operations to the Soviet Union.

In 1996, Israel opened a second entrance to a tunnel used by archeologists at the Temple Mount, sacred to Muslims as well as Jews. The action sparked deadly rioting.

In 1998, Iran's foreign minister announced that Iran had dropped its 1989 call for the death of Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses" which many Muslims found blasphemous.

In 2002, armed assailants killed 29 people and wounded 75 in an attack on a Hindu temple in Gandhinagar, India.

In 2003, a Gallup poll indicated that 67 percent of Baghdad residents polled said the removal of Saddam Hussein was worth the hardships they had endured.

In 2005, less than a month after Hurricane Katrina devastated wide areas of the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Rita came ashore near the Texas-Louisiana state line with another destructive blow. Much of the area had been evacuated but immense rains and high winds created more problems and parts of New Orleans were again flooded.

In 2006, a U.S. intelligence report said the war in Iraq had fueled global terrorism by fanning Islamic radicalism and creating new types of lethal terror methods.

In 2007, some 73,000 United Auto Workers went on strike against General Motors when contract negotiations bogged down over wages and benefits. The walkout lasted less than two days.

Also in 2007, mass protests against the Myanmar military junta culminated in a march by about 100,000 people, led by an estimated 20,000 Buddhist monks and nuns, in Yangon.

In 2008, the FBI opened investigations into possible fraud at four entities involved in the turmoil in U.S. financial markets. The inclusion of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and American International Group brought to 26 the number linked into an inquiry involving the mortgage crisis.

A thought for the day: Muppet creator Jim Henson said: "The most sophisticated people I know -- inside they are all children."

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