The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Monday, Jan. 16, the 16th day of 2012 with 350 to follow.

This is observed as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States.


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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include German philosopher Franz Brentano in 1838; Andre Michelin, the French industrialist who first mass-produced rubber automobile tires, in 1853; Canadian poet Robert Service in 1874; former Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista and inventor Frank Zamboni, both in 1901; singer Ethel Merman in 1908; baseball Hall of Fame member Jay "Dizzy" Dean in 1910; zoologist Dian Fossey in 1932; writer Susan Sontag in 1933; opera singer Marilyn Horne in 1934 (age 78); race car driver A.J. Foyt in 1935 (age 77); country singer Ronnie Milsap in 1944 (age 68); radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger in 1947 (age 65); film director John Carpenter in 1948 (age 64); choreographer, actor and director Debbie Allen in 1950 (age 62); Nigerian singer Sade Adu in 1959 (age 53); British model Kate Moss in 1974 (age 38); and baseball star Albert Pujols in 1980 (age 32).


On this date in history:

In 1581, the English Parliament outlawed Roman Catholicism.

In 1777, Vermont declared independence from New York.

In 1883, the U.S. Congress passed a bill creating the civil service.

In 1919, the United States went legally "dry" as prohibition of alcoholic beverages took effect under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment was repealed in 1933.

In 1925, Leon Trotsky was dismissed as chairman of the Russian Revolution Military Council.

In 1942, screen star Carole Lombard, her mother and 20 other people were killed in a plane crash near Las Vegas. Lombard was the wife of actor Clark Gable.

In 1944, U.S. Army Gen. Dwight Eisenhower arrived in London to assume command of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe.

In 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan called for "peaceful competition" with Moscow. He authorized research and development on space-age weapons capable of destroying incoming nuclear missiles, the program known as "Star Wars."

In 1986, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said Libya would train, arm and protect Arab guerrillas for Palestinian "suicide and terrorist missions," his first explicit endorsement of terrorism.


In 1991, the Persian Gulf War began with the allied bombing of Baghdad.

In 1994, at a Geneva news conference with U.S. President Bill Clinton, Syrian President Hafez Assad indicated a willingness to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel.

In 1997, a bomb exploded at an Atlanta building housing an abortion clinic. An hour later, after investigators and others had come to the scene, a second bomb went off, injuring six people.

In 2001, President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was shot to death, reportedly by one of his bodyguards, who was killed by other bodyguards.

In 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush said his re-election was a ratification of what he did in Iraq and there was no reason to hold any administration official accountable.

In 2006, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was sworn in as Liberia's president. She was the first female elected head of state in Africa.

Also in 2006, International Atomic Energy Agency officials said Iran's newly restarted nuclear program could enable the country to have nuclear weapons within three years.

And, a suicide attack at a Kandahar, Afghanistan, wrestling match killed 22 civilians.


In 2007, a U.N. report said about 34,000 Iraqis died violent deaths due to fighting and terrorist attacks in Iraq during 2006.

In 2008, officials in Islamabad put the death toll at 47 in the attack on a northwestern Pakistani military outpost by about 200 Taliban militants.

Also in 2008, Republican Bobby Jindal took over as the governor of Louisiana. He was the first Indian-American elected to that office in the United States. At 36, he also was the nation's youngest governor.

And, a report says the United States' roads, bridges, dams and sewer systems are in such major disrepair that fixing infrastructure could cost $1.6 trillion.

In 2009, U.S. officials said evidence indicated Iran was trying to skirt sanctions and acquire tungsten copper and specialized aluminum and titanium sheets that can be used in missile production.

In 2010, after three days of delays caused by what international relief groups called tremendous logistical challenges disaster aid made its way to victims in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

In 2011, Tunisian army helicopter gunships battled gunmen loyal to the country's ousted president on the streets of Tunis, at the Presidential Palace, Central Bank and Interior Ministry.

Also in 2011, the death toll from floods and mudslides in Brazil reached 641 with heavy rains hampered rescue efforts.


A thought for the day: In the film "Tomorrow Never Dies," James Bond said, "The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success."

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