The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 29, 2011 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, Sept. 29, the 272nd day of 2011 with 93 to follow.

This is the first day of Rosh Hashanah.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include Spanish poet-novelist Miguel de Cervantes, author of "Don Quixote," in 1547; Italian artist Caravaggio in 1571; British naval hero Adm. Horatio Nelson in 1758; pioneer nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi in 1901; actor Greer Garson in 1904; singing movie cowboy Gene Autry in 1907; film directors Michelangelo Antonioni in 1912 and Stanley Kramer in 1913; actors Trevor Howard in 1913 and Anita Ekberg in 1931 (age 80); rock 'n' roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis in 1935 (age 76); actor Larry Linville and singer/songwriter Tommy Boyce (age 72), both in 1939; actors Madeline Kahn and Ian McShane (age 69), both in 1942; Polish leader Lech Walesa in 1943 (age 68); composer Mike Post in 1944 (age 67); TV personality Bryant Gumbel and rock guitarist Mark Farmer, both in 1948 (age 63); Olympic gold medal-winning runner Sebastian Coe in 1956 (age 55); and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 1961 (age 50).

On this date in history:

In 1789, the U.S. War Department organized the United States' first standing army -- 700 troops who would serve for three years.

In 1923, Britain began to govern Palestine under a League of Nations mandate.

In 1936, in the presidential race between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Alf Landon, both parties used radio for the first time.

In 1941, the Babi Yar massacre of nearly 34,000 Jewish men, women and children began on the outskirts of Kiev in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine.

In 1991, sharing power for first time in 26 years, Zaire's President Mobuto Sese Seko named opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi prime minister.

In 1992, Brazil's President Fernando Collor de Mello became the first Latin American leader to be impeached.

Also in 1992, Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced he was returning to the Los Angeles Lakers less than a year after he retired because he had the AIDS virus.

In 2003, electricity was restored in Italy after a weekend blackout put 57 million people in the dark.

In 2004, TV icon Martha Stewart was ordered to serve her five-month prison sentence for obstructing justice at a prison camp for women in Alderson, W.Va.

In 2005, John Roberts Jr. easily won confirmation by the U.S. Senate to become chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was sworn in later that day, succeeding the late William Rehnquist.

Also in 2005, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

In 2006, U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., resigned in the wake of revelations he sent inappropriate e-mail messages to an underage former Capitol Hill page.

Also in 2006, the U.S. Congress approved President George W. Bush's plan for the interrogations and military trials of suspected terrorists.

In 2007, hundreds of rebels attacked an African Union base in Haskanita, a town in the Darfur region of Sudan, and reportedly killed at least 10 peacekeeping troops.

Also in 2007, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on a bus that killed at least 27 Afghan soldiers and injured 21 more in Kabul.

In 2008, in an unexpected move one day after the bailout agreement, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected the plan, 228-205. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 778 points, its biggest one-day point decline.

In 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate reached 9.8 percent. Employers reported cutting about 263,000 jobs in September after trimming about 216,000 in August.

Also in 2009, an 8.0-magnitude undersea earthquake and tsunami struck Somoa, American Samoa and Tonga, killing about 150 people.

In 2010, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase were among U.S. banking leaders who said they would freeze foreclosures in 23 states because some employees may have signed off on documents without sufficient review.

A thought for the day: British statesman Edmund Burke said, "Superstition is the religion of feeble minds."

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