The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Friday, Feb. 3, the 34th day of 2012 with 332 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 this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include German composer Felix Mendelssohn in 1809; U.S. journalist Horace Greeley in 1811; Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor of medicine, in 1821; poet and novelist Gertrude Stein in 1874; artist Norman Rockwell in 1894; gangster Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd in 1904; author James Michener in 1907; comedians Joey Bishop in 1918 and Shelley Berman in 1925 (age 87); actor John Fiedler, also in 1925; football Hall of Fame quarterbacks Fran Tarkenton in 1940 (age 72) and Bob Griese in 1945 (age 67); Nobel Peace Prize laureate Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo in 1948 (age 64); professional golfer Retief Goosen in 1969 (age 43); and actors Blythe Danner in 1943 (age 69), Morgan Fairchild and Pamela Franklin, both in 1950 (age 62), Nathan Lane in 1956 (age 56), Thomas Calabro in 1959 (age 53), Maura Tierney in 1965 (age 47) and Warwick Davis in 1970 (age 42).


On this date in history:

In 1377, 2,000 people in Cesena, Italy, were killed by papal troops in what became known as the Cesena Bloodbath.

In 1690, Massachusetts Colony issued the first paper money in America.

In 1783, Spain recognized the independence of the United States from Great Britain.

In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, decreeing that the right to vote shall not be denied on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.

In 1913, the 16th Amendment, allowing establishment of an income tax, became part of the U.S. Constitution after ratification by Wyoming.

In 1917, the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Germany after a German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare.

In 1924, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, died in Washington at the age of 67.

In 1959, singers Buddy Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Ritchie Valens were killed in a plane crash near Mason City, Iowa.

In 1966, the Soviet Union accomplished the first controlled landing on the moon when the unmanned spacecraft Lunik 9 touched down on the Ocean of Storms.


In 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act.

In 1992, angry rhetoric escalated between the United States and Japan when Japanese Prime Minister Miyazawa accused U.S. workers of lacking a "work ethic."

In 1994, the shuttle Discovery blasted off into space with the first Russian astronaut aboard a U.S. spacecraft.

Also in 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton announced the United States was lifting its trade embargo against Vietnam.

In 1998, Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker the first female inmate to be put to death by the state in 135 years.

Also in 1998, a U.S. Marine jetfighter, flying low over mountains in Italy, accidentally severed a ski lift cable, sending 20 people in a cable car plunging to their deaths.

In 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush sent lawmakers a $2.23 trillion budget for 2004, including major new tax cuts and a big increase in defense spending, projecting a deficit of $307.4 billion.

In 2004, the discovery of the lethal poison ricin in the mailroom of U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., the Senate majority leader, forced the closing of three Senate office buildings in Washington.


In 2005, more than 50 people died when a train rammed a trailer carrying a wedding party at a railroad crossing in India.

In 2006, almost 200 people were reported dead with another 800 listed as missing after an Egyptian ferry sank in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt.

In 2007, a truck bomb exploded in a Baghdad market killing at least 135 and injuring more than 300.

In 2008, Serbian President Boris Tadic, a pro-Western leader who favors closer ties with the United States, won re-election over a hard-line Radical Party candidate.

In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a bill expanding a popular health insurance program for children.

In 2010, maintaining its strenuous protests of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, China warned of sanctions against American companies participating in the deal.

Also in 2010, self-help guru James Arthur Ray was charged in Flagstaff, Ariz., with manslaughter in three deaths during a two-hour "spirit cleansing" ceremony in a hot, packed sweat lodge.

In 2011, on the heels of uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, some 20,000 demonstrators took to the streets in Sanaa, Yemen, demanding a change in government. "Arab Spring" protests also targeted several other points, including Iraq, Libya, Jordan, Algeria and Bahrain.


Also in 2011, the New York City Council approved a measure banning smoking in 1,700 parks and along 14 miles of beaches.

A thought for the day: Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

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