The almanac

By United Press International   |   Sept. 23, 2011 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, Sept. 23, the 266th day of 2011 with 99 to follow.

This is the first day of autumn.

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 Libra. They include Greek playwright Euripides in 480 B.C.; Roman Emperor Augustus in 63 B.C.; Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan in 1215; educator William McGuffey, author of the McGuffey "eclectic readers" for school children, in 1800; feminist and presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull in 1838; surgeon William Halsted, who introduced operations for hernia and breast cancer, in 1852; journalist Walter Lippmann in 1889; actors Walter Pidgeon in 1897 and Mickey Rooney in 1920 (age 91); jazz saxophonist John Coltrane in 1926; soul singer/pianist Ray Charles in 1930; singer Julio Iglesias in 1943 (age 68); actors Paul Petersen in 1945 (age 66) and Mary Kay Place in 1947 (age 64); rock star Bruce Springsteen in 1949 (age 62); actors Jason Alexander in 1959 (age 52) and Elizabeth Pena in 1961 (age 50); singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco in 1970 (age 41); and writer Ana Marie Cox in 1972 (age 39).

On this date in history:

In 1779, the USS Bonhomme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, defeated British frigate HMS Serapis in a battle off the coast of Scotland.

In 1806, U.S. explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis from the first recorded overland journey from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast and back.

In 1846, German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered the planet Neptune at the Berlin Observatory. Neptune generally is the eighth planet from the sun.

In 1909, Gaston Leroux's "Phantom of the Opera" was published.

In 1950, Congress adopted the Internal Security Act, which provided for the registration of communists. It was later ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1966, a Rolling Stones' concert at England's Royal Albert concert hall was halted temporarily when screaming girls attacked Mick Jagger onstage. The riotous enthusiasm of the fans resulted in a ban of pop concerts at the hall.

In 1973, Juan Peron was again elected president of Argentina after 18 years in exile. His second wife, Isabel, became vice president and succeeded him when he died 10 months later.

In 1985, nine days of street fighting in Tripoli, Lebanon, left 183 people dead.

In 1991, 44 U.N. inspectors were detained in Baghdad after attempting to remove secret Iraqi plans for building nuclear weapons. They were freed five days later.

In 1992, the worst storm in years struck southeastern France, triggering flash flooding that left 34 people dead and 50 missing.

In 1993, the Israeli Knesset approved the peace agreement with the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

In 1999, Russian planes began three days of attacks on targets in Chechnya, in response to several bombings in Moscow and other Russian cities.

In 2001, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States, the nation remained on increased alert for possible suspects in this country while troops in Afghanistan searched for Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network. The FAA halted crop-dusting activities, fearing they might be used to spread toxic substances.

In 2004, Haiti's death toll from flooding caused by Tropical Storm Jeanne could top 2,000, a Haitian civil defense official said.

In 2005, 23 people were killed when a bus carrying Texas nursing home evacuees from Hurricane Rita was destroyed by fire.

In 2006, as observance of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began in Iraq, a bomb killed at least 35 people, mostly women lined up for kerosene in Sadr City.

In 2007, Yasuo Fukuda, a long-time political force and son of a former prime minister, was chosen prime minister of Japan, succeeding Shinzo Abe, who resigned amid financial scandals.

Also in 2007, the U.S. Air Force sought to determine how six nuclear warheads were accidentally shipped from North Dakota to Louisiana with no one noticing and sat unguarded for a day.

In 2008, a 22-year-old male student killed 11 fellow adult students and himself at a western Finland vocational college 205 miles north of Helsinki.

In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives voted for a 13-week, $1.4 billion extension of unemployment benefits for 27 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, where the unemployment rate was 8.5 percent or higher.

Also in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama told Israeli and Palestinian leaders in their first trilateral talks they must begin "permanent" peace negotiations "soon" and urged them to be ready to take risks.

In 2010, the U.S. Congress enacted the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, a multibillion-dollar package of tax breaks and government loans to aid small businesses in the United States. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on Sept. 27.

Also in 2010, nearly three dozen delegations, including U.S. representatives, walked out of the U.N. General Assembly meeting when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

A thought for the day: Indian Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore said, "The artist is the lover of Nature, therefore he is her slave and her master."

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