The almanac

By United Press International  |  Nov. 18, 2011 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, Nov. 18, the 322nd day of 2011 with 43 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include French philosopher and writer Pierre Bayle in 1647; German composer Carl von Weber and English composer Henry Bishop ("Home Sweet Home"), both in 1786; French physicist Louis Daguerre, inventor of daguerreotype photography, in 1787; English playwright W.S. Gilbert, libretto writer for the comic operas of composer Arthur Sullivan, in 1836; Polish composer Ignace Paderewski in 1860; journalist Dorothy Dix in 1861; conductor Eugene Ormandy in 1899; pollster George Gallup in 1901; comedic actor Imogene Coca in 1908; songwriter Johnny Mercer in 1909; astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space, in 1923; actors Brenda Vaccaro in 1939 (age 72), David Hemmings in 1941, Linda Evans in 1942 (age 69), Jameson Parker in 1947 (age 64), Kevin Nealon in 1953 (age 58) and Elizabeth Perkins in 1960 (age 51); writer Alan Dean Foster in 1946 (age 65); football Hall of Fame member Jack Tatum in 1948 (age 63); musician Graham Parker in 1950 (age 61); actor Owen Wilson in 1968 (age 43); television news commentator Megyn Kelly in 1970 (age 41).

On this date in history:

In 1477, "The Sayings of the Philosophers" was published, the earliest known book printed in England to carry a date.

In 1883, the United States adopted Standard Time and set up four zones -- Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific.

In 1928, Mickey Mouse made his screen debut in the landmark "Steamboat Willie" at the Colony Theater in New York City. The Walt Disney cartoon, with Disney doing the voice of Mickey, was the first with synchronized sound.

In 1963, push-button telephones made their debut. Touch-tone service was available as an option for an extra charge.

In 1978, more than 900 people died in a mass suicide-murder led by the Rev. Jim Jones at the People's Temple commune in Guyana, following the slaying of U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif. It was the largest mass suicide in modern history.

In 1991, the Lebanese Shiite Muslim faction, the Islamic Jihad, freed Church of England envoy Terry Waite and U.S. professor Thomas Sutherland.

In 1994, Palestinian police opened fire on Islamic militants outside a mosque in the Gaza Strip, sparking riots that killed at least 14 people and injured 200.

In 1996, Harold Nicholson, a 16-year CIA veteran, was arrested for spying.

In 1999, 12 people died when the Aggie Bonfire collapsed at Texas A&M University. It was a tradition at the school to construct the bonfire before A&M played Texas in football.

In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the state's prohibition against same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.

In 2004, Britain outlawed fox hunting in England and Wales.

In 2005, suicide bombings killed more than 50 people in Iraq, most of them in or near two Shiite mosques close to the Iranian border.

In 2006, a Connecticut woman who pleaded guilty to sending cookies loaded with rat poison to the U.S. Supreme Court was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In 2007, authorities in Bangladesh upped the death toll from Cyclone Sidr to at least 2,000 people. Many more were reported missing and some 600,000 were homeless from the storm that ruined much of the country's food supply.

Also in 2007, a methane explosion in a Ukrainian coal mine killed at least 88 miners.

In 2008, pirates hijacked a Saudi oil tanker anchored about 480 miles off the coast of Somalia, loaded with about 2 million barrels of oil, worth about $100 million.

In 2009, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., introduced a healthcare package he said could extend coverage to more than 30 million Americans with a price tag of $849 billion over 10 years.

In 2010, Somalia was rated the world's top terror state, surpassing Afghanistan, Pakistan and Colombia, in a British global study.

Also in 2010, a United Nations report said the bill for global food imports would top $1 trillion for the second time, putting the world "dangerously close" to a new food crisis.

A thought for the day: Ogden Nash said,

"Once again there is someone we don't see eye to eye with, and maybe I couldn't be dafter,

"But I keep wondering if this time we couldn't settle our differences before a war instead of after."

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