The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Tuesday, Jan. 17, the 17th day of 2012 with 349 to follow.

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 American statesman, scientist and author Benjamin Franklin in 1706; British statesman David Lloyd George in 1863; Mack Sennett, director of slapstick silent films, in 1880; U.S. gangster Al Capone and English novelist Nevil Shute, both in 1899; actor Betty White in 1922 (age 90); singer Eartha Kitt in 1927; beauty specialist Vidal Sassoon in 1928 (age 84); actors James Earl Jones in 1931 (age 81) and Sheree North in 1932; puppeteer Shari Lewis in 1933; talk show host Maury Povich in 1939 (age 73);Olympic gold medal-winning runner Kipchoge Keino in 1940 (age 72); heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali in 1942 (age 70); comedian Andy Kaufman in 1949 former Rolling Stones member Mick Taylor, also in 1949 (age 63); musician Steve Earle in 1955 (age 57), comedian Steve Harvey in 1957 (age 55); comic actor Jim Carrey and writer Sebastian Junger, both in 1962 (age 50); singer Kid Rock in 1971 (age 41); U.S. first lady Michelle Obama in 1964 (age 48); actor Zooey Deschanel in 1980 (age 32); and pro basketball star Dwyane Wade in 1982 (age 30).


On this date in history:

In 1605, "Don Quixote" was published.

In 1806, the first baby was born in the White House, the grandson of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson.

In 1871, Andrew Hallikie received a patent for a cable car system that went into service in San Francisco in 1873.

In 1893, Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii was deposed in a bloodless revolution and a provisional government established, with annexation by the United States as its aim.

In 1917, the United States bought 50 of the Virgin Islands in the West Indies from Denmark for $25 million.

In 1946, the U.N. Security Council met for the first time.

In 1950, nine bandits staged a $1.5 million robbery of a Brink's armored car in Boston.

In 1966, a U.S. B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs collided with its refueling plane over Palomares, Spain, scattering radioactive plutonium over the area.

In 1977, convicted killer Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in Utah, the first execution since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty the previous year.

In 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed a secret order permitting the covert sale of arms to Iran.


In 1991, Harald V became king of Norway.

In 1993, U.S. missiles attacked an Iraqi nuclear weapons facility outside Baghdad in an effort to destroy Saddam Hussein's ability to build weapons of mass destruction.

In 1994, a pre-dawn earthquake struck the Los Angeles area, claiming 61 lives and causing widespread damage.

In 1995, a powerful earthquake rocked Kobe, Japan, and the surrounding area, killing more than 5,000 people.

In 1996, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman was sentenced to life in prison and 16 others were also sentenced to jail for plotting to bomb the United Nations.

In 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton denied in a sworn deposition that he had an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

In 2000, almost 50,000 people marched in Columbia, S.C., to protest the flying of the Confederate battle flag over the state Capitol.

In 2002, the volcano on Mount Nyiragongo, near the town of Goma in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, erupted, causing at least 45 deaths and leaving an estimated 55,000 people homeless.

In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Oregon's assisted suicide law by a 6-3 vote. It allows doctors to help mentally competent terminally ill patients end their lives.


In 2010, the United Nations confirmed that the head of its mission to Haiti and his top deputy were killed in the Port-au-Prince earthquake.

Also in 2010, Sebastian Pinera, a 60-year-old billionaire, won Chile's presidential election, becoming the country's first conservative leader since Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship ended two decades previously.

In 2011, a hand-made, radio-controlled pipe bomb was found hidden in a backpack along the planned route of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial march in Spokane, Wash. The bomb was defused and there were no injuries but the FBI said it could have caused "multiple casualties." A suspect, reportedly tied to a white supremacist movement, admitted the deed.

Also in 2011, the United Nations reported that several suspects had been indicted in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

A thought for the day: St. Augustine asked: "What, then, is time? I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me; but if I am asked what it is and try to explain, I am baffled."

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