The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 24, 2011 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, Sept. 24, the 267th day of 2011 with 98 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 Libra. They include novelist Horace Walpole in 1717; brewmaster Arthur Guinness in 1725; John Marshall, fourth chief justice of the United States, in 1755; French chemist Georges Claude, inventor of the neon lamp, in 1870; golf Hall of Fame member Tommy Armour in 1894; novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1896; sports announcer Jim McKay in 1921; actors/singers Sheila MacRae in 1924 (age 87) and Anthony Newley in 1931; Muppet creator Jim Henson in 1936; singer/photographer Linda Eastman McCartney, wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, in 1941; television commentator Lou Dobbs in 1945 (age 66); football Hall of Fame member "Mean" Joe Greene in 1946 (age 65); actor Gordon Clapp in 1948 (age 63); comedian Phil Hartman in 1948; actor Kevin Sorbo in 1958 (age 53); and gymnasts Morgan and Paul Hamm in 1982 (age 29).

On this date in history:

The Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed by Congress and signed by President George Washington, establishing the Supreme Court of the United States as a tribunal made up of six justices who were to serve on the court until death or retirement. The number of justices became nine in 1869.

In 1929, aviator James Doolittle demonstrated the first "blind" takeoff and landing, using only instruments to guide his aircraft.

In 1942, as World War II raged, popular bandleader Glenn Miller ended his long-running radio show and announced he was going into the U.S. Army. He was succeeded on radio by Harry James.

In 1959, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev met at Camp David, Md.

In 1986, the U.S. Congress adopted the rose as the national flower.

In 1993, in an address at the United Nations, South African leader Nelson Mandela called for the lifting of remaining international economic sanctions against South Africa.

In 1994, it was reported that CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames had exposed 55 secret U.S. and allied operations to the Soviet Union.

In 1996, Israel opened a second entrance to a tunnel used by archeologists at the Temple Mount, sacred to Muslims as well as Jews. The action sparked deadly rioting.

In 1998, Iran's foreign minister announced that Iran had dropped its 1989 call for the death of Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses" which many Muslims found blasphemous.

In 2002, armed assailants killed 29 people and wounded 75 in an attack on a Hindu temple in Gandhinagar, India.

In 2003, a Gallup poll indicated that 67 percent of Baghdad residents polled said the removal of Saddam Hussein was worth the hardships they had endured.

In 2005, less than a month after Hurricane Katrina devastated wide areas of the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Rita came ashore near the Texas-Louisiana state line with another destructive blow.

In 2006, a U.S. intelligence report said the war in Iraq had fueled global terrorism by fanning Islamic radicalism and creating new types of lethal terror methods.

In 2007, some 73,000 United Auto Workers went on strike against General Motors when contract negotiations bogged down over wages and benefits. The walkout lasted less than two days.

Also in 2007, mass protests against the Myanmar military junta culminated in a march by about 100,000 people, led by an estimated 20,000 Buddhist monks and nuns, in Yangon.

In 2008, the FBI opened investigations into possible fraud at four entities involved in the turmoil in U.S. financial markets. The inclusion of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and American International Group brought to 26 the number linked into an inquiry involving the mortgage crisis.

In 2009, after a reported successful test in Thailand, scientists said they created an HIV vaccine that seemed to reduce the risk of contracting the AIDS virus.

Also in 2009, the discovery of a treasure trove of more than 1,500 finely crafted gold, silver and copper artifacts, found with a metal detector and believed buried by seventh-century Anglo-Saxon rulers, was termed one of most important in British archaeological history.

In 2010, U.S. drug regulators strictly limited and European regulators banned the use of anti-diabetic drug Avandia over concerns about its safety.

Also in 2010, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway held on to the top spots on Forbes magazine's list of the 400 richest in the United States. Gates' wealth was set at $54 billion and Buffet's at $45 billion.

A thought for the day: Muppet creator Jim Henson said: "The most sophisticated people I know -- inside they are all children."

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