The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Wednesday Feb. 1, the 32nd day of 2012 with 334 to follow.

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


Those born on the date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include composer Victor Herbert in 1859; Hattie Caraway of Arkansas, first woman elected to the Senate, in 1878; film director John Ford in 1894; National Hockey League executive Conn Smythe in 1895; actor Clark Gable in 1901; poet Langston Hughes in 1902; humorist S.J. Perelman in 1904; cabaret singer Hildegarde Loretta Sell in 1906; film and special effects director George Pal in 1908; actor Stuart Whitman in 1928 (age 84); former Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1931; singer Don Everly, rock parodist Ray "Dr. Hook" Sawyer and comedian Garrett Morris, all in 1937 (age 75); actor Sherman Hemsley in 1938 (age 74);actor/director Terry Jones ("Monty Python's Flying Circus") in 1942 (age 70); journalist Jessica Savitch in 1947; singer Rick James in 1948; actor Billy Mumy in 1954 (age 58); Princess Stephanie of Monaco and actor Sherilyn Fenn, both in 1965 (age 47); singer Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley and ex-wife of Michael Jackson, in 1968 (age 44); and actor Michael C. Hall in 1971 (age 41).


On this date in history:

In 1790, the U.S. Supreme Court convened in New York City for its first session.

In 1861, Texas seceded from the United States.

In 1865, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery.

In 1896, Giacomo Puccini's opera "La Boheme" premiered in Turin, Italy.

In 1946, Norwegian Trygve Lie of Norway was selected to be the first U.N. secretary-general.

In 1968, the communist Viet Cong began a major offensive of the Vietnam War with a fierce attack on the South Vietnamese city of Hue.

In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini, symbol of the Iranian revolution, returned to his homeland.

In 1991, South African President F.W. De Klerk announced that he would seek repeal of key laws on which the apartheid system was based.

Also in 1991, at least 1,200 people were killed in an earthquake that struck Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And in 1991, 34 people were killed and 24 more injured when a USAir jet hit a SkyWest plane on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

In 2001, former U.S. President Bill Clinton said he and his wife would return $86,000 in gifts they received in 2000 but would keep $104,000 worth of others they received prior to 2000.


In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke apart during its descent over the southwestern United States. All seven astronauts aboard were killed.

In 2004, suicide bombings targeting the two main Kurdish party headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil killed 100 people and injured many others.

Also in 2004, 251 people were trampled during the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

In 2004, during the Super Bowl halftime show, Justin Timberlake tore off part of Janet Jackson's costume, exposing her right breast and touching off strong criticism, a Federal Communications Commission investigation and a hefty fine for CBS. Timberlake apologized, blaming it on "a wardrobe malfunction."

In 2006, Ben Bernanke became the U.S. Federal Reserve chief, replacing Alan Greenspan, who held the position for 18 years.

In 2008, an estimated 100 people were killed and another 123 injured in suicide bombings by two women at a Baghdad pet market.

In 2009, Iceland swore in its first female prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir.

In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama proposed a $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal 2011 with a projected $1.6 trillion deficit.

Also in 2010, a female suicide bomber detonated explosives in a Shiite pilgrim procession in Baghdad, killing 41 people and wounding more than 100 others.


In 2011, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, with hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding his departure after a reign of nearly 30 years, announced he won't seek re-election but would serve until the September national election.

A thought for the day: "One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." Oliver Wendell Holmes said that.

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