The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 18, 2011 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Sunday, Sept. 18, the 261st day of 2011 with 104 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include English poet and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, writer of the first English dictionary, in 1709; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story in 1779; French physicist Jean Foucault, inventor of the gyroscope, in 1819; choreographer Agnes de Mille in 1905; actors Greta Garbo in 1905, Leon Askin in 1907; Jack Warden in 1920 and Robert Blake in 1933 (age 78); film producer Bud Greenspan in 1926 (age 85); singer/actor Frankie Avalon and comedian Fred Willard, both in 1939 (age 72); rock 'n' roll musician Dee Dee Ramone in 1951; basketball coach Rick Pitino in 1952 (age 59); baseball Hall of Fame member Ryne Sandberg in 1959 (age 52); actor Holly Robinson Peete in 1964 (age 47); actor Jada Pinkett Smith and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, both in 1971 (age 40).

On this date in history:

In 1850, the U.S. Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, allowing slave owners to reclaim slaves who escaped into another state.

In 1851 The New York Daily Times published its first issues.

In 1927, the Columbia Broadcasting System was born. Originally known as the Tiffany Network, its first program was an opera, "The King's Henchman."

In 1928, a hurricane that lashed Florida and the West Indies for five days left an estimated 4,000 people dead and $30 million in damage.

In 1961, U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold died when his plane crashed under mysterious circumstances near Ndola in Northern Rhodesia.

In 1970, rock star Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27 following a drug overdose in London.

In 1975, FBI agents in San Francisco captured heiress Patricia Hearst and two of her Symbionese Liberation Army comrades, William and Emily Harris.

In 1983, British adventurer George Meegan finished a 19,021-mile, 6-year walk from the tip of South America to the Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

In 1990, Winnie Mandela, wife of South African black leader Nelson Mandela, was charged with assault and kidnapping in the 1988 abduction and slaying of a 14-year-old boy by her chief bodyguard.

In 1991, U.S. President George H.W. Bush authorized U.S. warplanes to fly into Iraq to protect U.N. inspectors.

In 1994, a U.S. delegation headed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter persuaded Haiti's military leaders to step aside in favor of the democratically elected president after learning U.S. troops were en route to the Caribbean nation.

In 1996, the shuttle Atlantis docked with the Mir space station to pick up U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid, who had set a U.S. record for time spent in space.

Also in 1996, the doctors of Russian President Boris Yeltsin revealed he had a heart attack during his re-election campaign.

In 2001, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Arial Sharon of Israel both ordered a halt of offensive actions and Israeli troops and tanks began pulling out of the areas around Jericho and Jenin.

In 2003, Hurricane Isabel slammed into the North Carolina coast, eventually causing a reported 40 deaths and inflicting property damage estimated at $5 billion.

In 2004, the U.N. Security Council called for Sudan to put an end to the killings in the Darfur region where an estimated 50,000 people died in militia raids over 18 months.

In 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the United Nations his country wouldn't back down on its "right to pursue peaceful nuclear energy."

Also in 2005, voters in the German parliamentary election failed to give any party a majority with Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats trailing Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

And in 2005, Afghanistan had its first free election in 25 years, drawing millions of voters despite Taliban threats.

In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in approving a civil rights bill that broadens the definition of disability to include epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other illnesses.

Also in 2008, the U.S. Federal Reserve expanded swap lines to allow banks to borrow at lower rates. The Fed authorized an additional $110 billion for European banks, $60 billion for the Bank of Japan and $10 billion for the Bank of Canada.

In 2009, Christian conservatives meeting in Washington showed favoritism for minister-politician-commentator Mike Huckabee for U.S. president in 2012, a straw poll indicated.

Also in 2009, the final episode of "The Guiding Light" was broadcast. The soap opera had run on radio or television for 72 years.

In 2010, violence and threats of violence during Afghanistan's parliamentary elections kept 60 percent of eligible voters away from the polls and left at least 14 people dead. A total of 2,514 candidates vied for seats in the 249-member Parliament.

A thought for the day: American reformer Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, "The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation."

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