The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Saturday, Feb. 13, the 44th day of 2010 with 321 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include former first lady Bess Truman, wife of U.S. President Harry Truman, in 1885; artist Grant Wood in 1891; writer Georges Simenon in 1903; entertainer "Tennessee" Ernie Ford and football coach Eddie Robinson, both in 1919; pilot Chuck Yeager, the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound, in 1923 (age 87); actors Kim Novak in 1933 (age 77), George Segal in 1934 (age 76), Oliver Reed in 1938, Carol Lynley in 1942 (age 68) and Stockard Channing in 1944 (age 66); talk show host Jerry Springer, also in 1944 (age 66); musicians Peter Tork of the Monkees in 1942 (age 68) and Peter Gabriel in 1950 (age 60); basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski in 1947 (age 63); and fitness guru Denise Austin in 1957 (age 53).


On this date in history:

In 1635, the oldest public institution in America, the Boston Latin School, was founded.

In 1668, Portugal was recognized as an independent nation by Spain.

In 1861, the first Medal of Honor went to Col. Bernard Irwin, an assistant Army surgeon serving in the first major U.S.-Apache conflict.

In 1945, allied firebombing of the German city of Dresden caused a firestorm that destroyed the city and killed as many as 135,000 people.

Also in 1945, Soviet forces captured Budapest, Hungary. The 49-day battle killed more than 50,000 German troops.

In 1960, France tested its first atomic weapon.

In 1974, the Soviet Union expelled dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

In 1984, Konstantin Chernenko succeeded the late Yuri Andropov as Soviet leader.

In 1990, the two Germanys and the Big Four powers agreed to pursue German unity.

In 1991, Iraq claimed hundreds of civilians were killed when U.S. bombs hit a building in Baghdad; the United States said the building was a heavily fortified military command center.

Also in 1991, 36 people were killed when an Ash Wednesday mass at a Mexican church turned violent.

In 1993, three men were killed and another wounded in a shooting at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Fla.


In 1998, Cuba began releasing 299 political prisoners following an appeal by Pope John Paul II.

Also in 1998, Nigerian troops overthrew the military junta that had ruled Sierra Leone since ousting the democratically elected government in May 1997.

In 2001, more than 400 people are killed in an earthquake in El Salvador.

In 2002, Pakistani police announced the arrest of the prime suspect in the abduction and slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

In 2003, the Bolivian capital of La Paz was plunged into chaos by protests that got out of hand. Fourteen people were killed.

In 2005, a Shiite-dominated coalition won the Iraqi parliamentary election, taking 48 percent of the 8.5 million votes cast.

Also in 2005, flooding claimed more than 70 lives in Venezuela and Colombia.

In 2006, a U.N. report accused the United States of violating prisoners' rights at its military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In 2007, North Korea agreed to close its nuclear facilities in exchange for a $400 million package of oil and economic aid.

In 2008, Barack Obama won votes in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia by large margins, strengthening his lead over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. On the Republican side, John McCain won all three primaries as well, solidifying his lead over Mike Huckabee.


Also in 2008, the U.S. government confirmed reports that trailers supplied to survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita posed a possibly serious health risk because of formaldehyde.

In 2009, a Continental airlines turbo prop commuter plane crashed into a house near Buffalo, N.Y., killing a reported 50 people, including one person in the house.

Also in 2009, more than 30 people died and 84 were injured when a female suicide bomber detonated a device on a major Shiite pilgrimage route in Iraq.

A thought for the day: it was Oscar Wilde who said, "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go."

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