The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 30, the 273rd day of 2009 with 92 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 German physicist Hans Geiger, co-inventor of the Geiger counter, in 1882; film director Lewis Milestone ("All Quiet on the Western Front") in 1895; singer Kenny Baker in 1912; drummer Buddy Rich in 1917; novelist Truman Capote in 1924; actresses Deborah Kerr in 1921 and Angie Dickinson in 1931 (age 78); singers Johnny Mathis in 1935 (age 74) and Marilyn McCoo in 1943 (age 66); singer Frankie Lymon in 1942; actress Victoria Tennant in 1950 (age 59); actor Eric Stoltz and actress/singer Crystal Bernard, both in 1961 (age 48); and actresses Fran Drescher ("The Nanny") in 1957 (age 52) and Jenna Elfman ("Dharma and Greg") in 1971 (age 38), and tennis star Martina Hingis in 1980 (age 29).

On this date in history:

In 1452, the first section of the Guttenberg Bible, the first book printed from movable type, was published in Germany.


In 1630, John Billington, one of the first pilgrims to land in America was hanged for murder -- becoming the first European criminal executed in the American colonies.

In 1846, a dentist in Charleston, Mass., extracted a tooth with the aid of an anesthetic -- ether. It was the first time an anesthetic had been used.

In 1938, Germany, France, Britain and Italy met in Munich, Germany, for a conference after which British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain predicted "peace for our time." But, World War II began less than one year later.

In 1946, the verdicts were handed down in the Nuremberg war crimes trial. Twelve Nazi leaders were sentenced to death by hanging.

In 1954, the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear submarine, was commissioned by the U.S. Navy.

In 1955, movie idol James Dean died in a car crash at age 24.

In 1962, James H. Meredith, an African-American, was escorted onto the University of Mississippi campus by U.S. marshals, setting off a riot in which two men died before violence was quelled by more than 3,000 soldiers. Meredith enrolled the next day.

In 1991, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a military coup.


In 1992, the United States returned most of the Subic Bay Naval Base to the Philippine government after more than a century of use.

In 1999, an accident at a nuclear power plant 70 miles northeast of Tokyo released high levels of radiation in Japan's worst nuclear accident.

Also in 1999, Russia sent troops into the breakaway republic of Chechnya.

In 2003, three people working at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba, including a Muslim chaplain, were arrested on espionage charges.

In 2004, more than 40 people were killed, including about 35 children, when three bombs exploded in Iraq as U.S. soldiers were handing out candy.

Also in 2004, Merck & Co. announced a voluntary worldwide withdrawal of the arthritis and pain medication drug Vioxx. Clinical trials showed an increased risk of heart attack and strokes.

In 2005, amid joy, sadness and speculation about the future, thousands of New Orleans residents returned home to a hobbled city, one month after Hurricane Katrina dealt them a devastating blow.

In 2006, Brazilian authorities said they found the wreckage of a missing airliner in the dense rain forest. Searchers said it was unlikely anyone had survived the crash.

Also in 2006, Congress ordered construction of a 700-mile, $1.2 billion fence along the U.S.-Mexican border in a move to control immigration. Mexico said the barrier would hurt relations between the two countries.


In 2007, roadside bombs killed or wounded 21,200 U.S. soldiers since the war in Iraq began in March 2003, The Washington Post reported. The Pentagon called the improvised explosives "the most effective weapon" against U.S. troops.

In 2008, a crowd of about 25,000 worshippers making its way through a narrow passage to a Hindu temple in India for a religious festival broke into a stampede when a wall collapsed. Police put the death toll at 224 with more than 100 injured.

Also in 2008, U.S. President George Bush signed legislation providing about $630 billion to keep the government operating. It included $25 billion in loan guarantees to help U.S. auto makers develop more fuel-efficient vehicles.

A thought for the day: Spanish nun, mystic and reformer St. Teresa said, "Whenever conscience commands anything, there is only one thing to fear, and that is fear."

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