The almanac

By United Press International   |   Jan. 20, 2011 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, Jan. 20, the 20th day of 2011 with 345 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include American patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence Richard Henry Lee in 1732; Harold Gray, creator of the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie," in 1894; comedian George Burns in 1896; Italian film director Federico Fellini and actor DeForest Kelley, both in 1920; country singer Ottis "Slim" Whitman in 1924 (age 87); actor Patricia Neal in 1926; comic Arte Johnson in 1929 (age 82); astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon, in 1930 (age 81); director David Lynch in 1946 (age 65); TV host Bill Maher ("Politically Incorrect") in 1956 (age 55); and actor Lorenzo Lamas in 1958 (age 53); major league baseball manager Ozzie Guillen in 1964 (age 47).

On this date in history:

In 1265, Britain's House of Commons, which became a model for parliamentary bodies, met for the first time.

In 1783, U.S. and British representatives signed a preliminary "Cessation of Hostilities," which ended the fighting in the Revolutionary War.

In 1801, John Marshall was appointed the Chief Justice of the United States.

In 1892, the first officially recognized basketball game was played at the YMCA gym in Springfield, Mass.

In 1936, Edward VIII becomes king of the United Kingdom.

In 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only president to be elected to four terms in office, was inaugurated to his final term. He died three months later and was succeeded by Harry Truman.

In 1961, John Fitzgerald Kennedy began his presidency with inauguration ceremonies on the newly renovated east front of the Capitol.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as the 40th president of the United States. That same day, 52 American hostages were released by Iran after 444 days in captivity.

In 1990, at least 62 civilians were killed and more than 200 wounded when the Soviet army stormed into Baku to end what Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called fratricidal killing between Muslim Azerbaijanis and Christian Armenians.

In 1993, Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd president of the United States.

Also in 1993, Oscar-winning actress Audrey Hepburn died of cancer at her home in Switzerland. She was 63.

In 1995, the United States announced it was easing the trade embargo in effect against North Korea since the Korean War.

Also in 1995, a strike-shortened National Hockey League season opened with teams playing a 48-game schedule instead of the usual 84.

In 1996, Yasser Arafat was elected president of the Palestinian Authority with 88 percent of the vote.

In 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton was inaugurated for his second term in office.

Also in 1997, millionaire Steve Fossett landed in northern India after a record-setting bid to become the first person to circle the globe in a hot air balloon.

In 2001, George W. Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd president of the United States.

Also in 2001, just hours before leaving office, U.S. President Bill Clinton issued 176 pardons -- a number of them controversial.

In 2003, Britain said it was sending 26,000 troops to the Persian Gulf for possible deployment to Iraq but France said it wouldn't support a U.N. resolution for military action.

In 2005, George W. Bush was sworn in for his second term as U.S. president.

In 2006, Lawrence Franklin, a former U.S. State Department analyst and Iran expert, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for passing classified information to Israel and two pro-Israeli lobbyists.

In 2007, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., became the first former first lady to seek the U.S. presidency when she entered the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination.

In 2008, Israeli Cabinet ministers called for the death of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, who claimed to have the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in Lebanon.

In 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the United States' 44th president and the nation's first African-American chief executive. In an 18-minute inaugural address, he urged the more than 1 million people who braved the sub-freezing weather to hear him in person, to join him to "begin again the work of remaking America."

In 2010, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned of a "syndicate" of terrorist groups operating under al-Qaida leadership in the Afghan-Pakistan area dedicated to destabilizing the region.

Also in 2010, Senior Hamas Commander Mahmoud al-Mabbouh was assassinated in his hotel room while on a visit to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

A thought for the day: Henry David Thoreau wrote: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

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