The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Monday, March 19, the 79th day of 2012 with 287 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include Plymouth Colony Gov. William Bradford in 1590; signer of the Declaration of Independence Thomas McKean in 1734; Scottish explorer of Africa David Livingstone in 1813; British explorer Richard Burton in 1821; U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp in 1848; politician, lawyer William Jennings Bryan in 1860; U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Stilwell in 1883; Chief U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren in 1891; comedian Moms Mabley in 1894; "Watergate" Judge John Sirica in 1904; actor Patrick McGoohan in 1928; author Philip Roth in 1933 (age 79); and actors Ursula Andress in 1936 (age 76), Glenn Close in 1947 (age 65) and Bruce Willis in 1955 (age 57); film producer Harvey Weinstein in 1952 (age 60).


On this date in history:

In 721 B.C., the Roman historian Ptolemy said Babylonian astronomers noted history's first recorded eclipse: an eclipse of the moon.

In 1916, the first U.S. air combat mission in history saw eight Curtiss "Jenny" planes of the First Aero Squadron take off from Columbus, N.M., to aid troops that had invaded Mexico in pursuit of the bandit Pancho Villa.

In 1918, the U.S. Congress passed the Standard Time Act, which authorized the Interstate Commerce Commission to establish standard time zones in the United States.

In 1920, the Treaty of Versailles, establishing the League of Nations, was rejected by the U.S. Senate.

In 1931, in an effort to ease the hard times of the Great Depression, the Nevada Legislature voted to legalize gambling.

In 1942, with World War II under way, all men in the United States between the ages of 45 and 64, about 13 million, were ordered to register with the draft boards for non-military duty.

In 1953, legendary filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille won the only Academy Award of his career when "The Greatest Show on Earth," a big-budget extravaganza about circus life, was acclaimed the Best Picture of the year.


In 1987, South Carolina televangelist Jim Bakker resigned as head of the PTL Club, saying he was blackmailed after a sexual encounter with former church secretary Jessica Hahn.

In 1991, Khaleda Zia became the first woman prime minister of Bangladesh.

In 2002, Israel completed its army's pullout of the West Bank by leaving Bethlehem one day after Israeli Prime Minister Arial Sharon met with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. The following day a suicide bomber killed seven Israelis on a bus.

In 2003, the U.S.-led military offensive invaded Iraq with a nighttime assault on Baghdad.

Also in 2003, the U.S. Senate rejected a proposal supported by the Bush administration to allow drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

In 2005, Pakistan was reported to have successfully tested a nuclear-capable missile with a range of 1,250 miles.

In 2006, the disputed presidential election in Belarus sparked street protests while international observers alleged fraud. Incumbent Alexander Lukashenko, who claimed 82.6 percent of the vote, was accused of rigging the election.

In 2007, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay allegedly admitted helping plan the bombings of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, and the USS Cole in Yemen.


In 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush marked the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by calling it a fight the United States "can and must win." He said removing Saddam Hussein from power "was the right decision."

In 2009, Mexican President Felipe Calderon says the military will help fight drug cartels until police are retrained to do the job. More than 6,000 people died in drug-related violence in 2008.

In 2010, in a rash of so-called homegrown terror threats, one U.S. resident admitted in a Chicago court to involvement in the deadly 2008 Dubai attack, another pleaded innocent in Philadelphia to terrorist fundraising and recruiting charges while five young Virginia Muslims were accused of terrorism in Pakistan.

In 2011, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, under heavy pressure to step down, told the West to drop the no-fly zone it declared this week to aid rebels demanding his ouster or face "consequences." The 621-mile zone, stretching from Benghazi to Tripoli, aimed at halting Gadhafi airstrikes against the protesters.

Also in 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama, in Latin America focusing on trade issues, said the United States is "on track" to double exports by 2014.


And, Warren Christopher, secretary of state in the Clinton administration decorated for his role in securing the release of 52 U.S. hostages in Iran in 1981, died in Los Angeles of cancer at the age of 85.

A thought for the day: William Jennings Bryan said: "Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved."

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