The almanac

United Press International

Today is Sunday, Dec. 4, the 338th day of 2011 with 27 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle in 1795; English novelist Samuel Butler in 1835; actor/singer Lillian Russell in 1861; Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1892; U.S. Marines fighter ace Gregory "Pappy" Boyington in 1912; game show host Wink Martindale in 1934 (age 77); actors Deanna Durbin in 1921 (age 90), Max Baer Jr. in 1937 (age 74), Jeff Bridges in 1949 (age 62), Patricia Wettig in 1951 (age 60) and Marisa Tomei in 1964 (age 47); rock 'n' roll Hall of Fame members Dennis Wilson (the Beach Boys) and Chris Hillman (the Byrds) (age 67), both in 1944; Olympic gold medal pole vaulter Sergey Bubka in 1963 (age 48); rapper Jay-Z, born Shawn Corey Carter, in 1969 (age 42) and model Tyra Banks in 1973 (age 38).


On this date in history:

In 1881, the Los Angeles Times published its first edition.

In 1942, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered liquidation of the Works Progress Administration, created during the Great Depression to provide work for the unemployed.

In 1954, the first Burger King fast-food restaurant opened in Miami.

In 1971, India joined East Pakistan in its war for independence from West Pakistan. East Pakistan became the republic of Bangladesh.

In 1991, American Terry Anderson was freed by his pro-Iranian captors after six years. He was the last U.S. hostage held in the Middle East.

In 1992, U.S. President George H.W. Bush ordered U.S. troops into Somalia.

In 1995, officials of the United Auto Workers union called an end to a largely unsuccessful 17-month strike against Caterpillar in Peoria, Ill.

In 1997, top health officials in Europe voted to ban most forms of advertising of tobacco beginning in four to five years.

In 2002, a Roman Catholic priest was indicted on seven counts in a seven-month investigation of sex abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Nine others faced charges in the case.

In 2003, an especially virulent strain of the flu hit the United States, mostly in the West at first, with Colorado reporting more than 6,300 cases with the deaths of five children.


In 2004, Colombia extradited to the United States the most notorious drug cartel kingpin in its custody, Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, a co-founder of the Cali cartel.

In 2005, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin urged Hurricane Katrina evacuees to return but many were reported skeptical about what they would find there.

Also in 2005, the remains of at least 20 people were found in a grave in east Lebanon near a former Syrian-run prison where many Lebanese detainees were held.

In 2006, John Bolton resigned as U.S. envoy to the United Nations. Named to the post through a recess appointment by U.S. President George W. Bush, Bolton had been a harsh critic of U.N. bureaucracy.

In 2007, six students were killed and four others were hurt when a bomb went off at an Islamic school in Pakistan's Balochistan province.

In 2008, just seven weeks into his second term, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended Parliament in an attempt to stall a no-confidence vote.

In 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 10 percent in November, down from its peak of 10.2 percent in October and employers shed 11,000 jobs. Analysts called the jobs report the strongest since the recession began two years earlier.


In 2010, two teenage brothers from an Israeli Druze village were charged with starting a wildfire that killed 42 people in northern Israel.

Also in 2010, Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo was sworn in for another term in defiance of a U.N. determination that his opponent, Alassane Quattara, who also was sworn in, had won the runoff election "with absolute certainty."

And, Italy said it would go ahead with its plan to ban plastic shopping bags effective Jan. 1.

A thought for the day: Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle said, "A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one."

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