The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Saturday, Jan. 21, the 21st day of 2012 with 345 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 Aquarius. They include soldier and Vermont folk hero Ethan Allen in 1738; explorer and historian John Fremont in 1813; Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in 1824; firearms designer John Browning in 1855; Roger Nash Baldwin, founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, in 1884; fashion designer Christian Dior and German high-wire walker Karl Wallenda both in1905; actors Telly Savalas and Paul Scofield both in 1922; British comedian Benny Hill in 1924; famed disc jockey Robert "Wolfman Jack" Smith in 1938; golfer Jack Nicklaus in 1940 (age 72); opera star Placido Domingo and folk musician Richie Havens, both in 1941 (age 71); singers Mac Davis (age 70) and Edwin Starr, both in 1942 and Billy Ocean in 1950 (age 62); actors Jill Eikenberry in 1947 (age 65), Robby Benson and Geena Davis, both in 1956 (age 56); U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke in 1950 (age 62); U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in 1951 (age 61); and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 1953 (age 59).


On this date in history:

In 1793, French King Louis XVI was executed in Paris.

In 1861, Mississippi Sen. Jefferson Davis resigned from the U.S. Senate, 12 days before Mississippi seceded from the Union. He later became president of the Confederate States of America.

In 1924, Vladimir Lenin, architect of the Bolshevik Revolution and the first leader of the Soviet Union, died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 54.

In 1954, the world's first atomic-powered submarine, the Nautilus, was launched at Groton, Conn.

In 1976, the supersonic Concorde airplane was put into service by Britain and France.

In 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter pardoned American Vietnam War-era draft evaders and ordered a case-by-case study of deserters.

In 1991, Iraq announced that it would use hostages as human shields against allied warplanes.

In 1997, the full U.S. House of Representatives voted 395-28 to reprimand Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., for violating House rules and misleading congressional investigators looking into his possible misuse of tax-exempt donations for political purposes.

In 1998, allegations of U.S. President Bill Clinton's affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky became public when newspapers reported the story.


Also in 1998, Pope John Paul II arrived in Havana for his first visit to Cuba.

In 2000, a military junta seized power in Ecuador. The next day, following expressions of international concern, the junta leaders turned the government over to the country's vice president.

In 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau said Hispanics had moved past African-Americans as the largest minority group in the United States.

In 2004, a U.S. scientist who had toured North Korea nuclear facilities told the U.S. Congress there was evidence they could produce enriched plutonium.

In 2005, Iraq officials said $300 million was taken from Baghdad's central bank and flown to Lebanon. Its whereabouts were unknown.

In 2007, Afghanistan's Kabul government was reported planning war against its illegal opium trade with an attack on 55,000 acres of ripening poppies in a leading drug-producing province.

In 2008, 20 miners were killed in an explosion at a reportedly unsafe coal mine in China's northern Shanxi Province.

In 2009, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, who lost a tough fight against Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, won near unanimous Senate confirmation as secretary of state.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a far-reaching and controversial 5-4 decision, ruled that the government cannot restrict the spending of corporations and unions for political campaigns.


In 2011, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., said to be the main target in a lethal assault at a Tucson political meeting in which six people died, left a hospital almost two weeks after she was shot in the head to begin rehab in Houston.

Also in 2011, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama announced she would collaborate with retail giant Walmart in promoting her Let's Move! campaign against childhood obesity.

A thought for the day: Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

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