The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Tuesday, Sept. 4, the 248th day of 2012 with 118 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include French novelist and politician Francois Rene de Chateaubriand in 1768; architect Daniel Burnham in 1846; engineer-inventor Lewis Latimer in 1848; French composer Darius Milhaud in 1892; bandleader Jan Savitt in 1907; novelist and essayist Richard Wright in 1908; radio news commentator Paul Harvey in 1918; actor Dick York in 1928; dancer/actor Mitzi Gaynor in 1931 (age 81); golf Hall of Fame members Raymond Floyd in 1942 (age 70) and Tom Watson in 1949 (age 63); actor Judith Ivey in 1951 (age 61); comedian Damon Wayans in 1960 (age 52); actor Ione Skye, daughter of pop singer Donovan, in 1970 (age 42); and singer Beyonce Knowles in 1981 (age 31).


On this date in history:

In 1609, navigator Henry Hudson discovered the island of Manhattan.

In 1954, the first passage of the fabled Northwest Passage was completed by icebreakers from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.

In 1957, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus called out the National Guard to prevent nine African-American students from entering Central High School in Little Rock.

Also in 1957, the Ford Motor Co. introduced the Edsel to beef up its mid-size market but the car was a failure, lasting only three model years.

In 1972, U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz became the first athlete to win seven gold medals in a single Olympic Games.

In 1980, Iraqi troops seized Iranian territory in a border dispute. The conflict escalated into all-out war.

In 1991, South African President F.W. de Klerk proposed a new constitution. It provided for universal voting rights and opened the parliament to all races.

In 1993, Fatah, the PLO's largest and most moderate faction, endorsed an accord with Israel calling for interim Palestinian self-rule.

In 1998, for the first time since news of his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky broke, U.S. President Bill Clinton said he was "sorry" for what he had done.


In 1999, more than 60 people were killed when Chechen terrorists detonated a car bomb near an apartment building in Dagestan, Russia.

Also in 1999, after East Timor voted for independence rather than remaining a part of Indonesia, hundreds died in a five-day rampage by pro-Indonesian militants.

In 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush said he would seek congressional approval for any military move on Iraq. He also promised to consult with allies, some of whom were opposed to his "regime change" plan.

In 2004, an Argentine court in Buenos Aires acquitted five suspects in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people and injured 300.

In 2005, New Orleans officials completed evacuation of Hurricane Katrina survivors from the Superdome and convention center -- a total of 42,000 in one day. There were 2,000 people reported at the airport and 1,000 trapped in attics of flooded buildings.

In 2006, Steve Irwin, Australia's internationally renowned "Crocodile Hunter" TV star, was killed by a stingray barb to the heart while he was filming underwater.

Also in 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he was abandoning plans to unilaterally pull Israeli troops out of the West Bank.


In 2007, Hurricane Felix made landfall in northern Nicaragua as a Category 5 storm packing sustained winds of 160 mph.

In 2008, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two felony charges of obstruction of justice and agreed to resign, serve four months in jail and pay a $1 million fine. The plea was aimed at ending a scandal stemming from his attempts to conceal an affair with his former chief of staff.

Also in 2008, China admitted that shoddy construction of school buildings may have contributed to their collapse in the May 12 earthquake that killed 70,000 people, including 10,000 students.

In 2009, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi was chosen as Iran's health minister, the first woman minister in the 30-year history of the Islamic republic.

In 2010, a U.S. District judge in San Francisco struck down California's voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriages, saying it was unconstitutional.

Also in 2010, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook New Zealand's South Island near Christchurch. About 100 people were injured and property losses were estimated at more than $2.5 billion.

And, violence sparked by the death of a prominent lawmaker in Karachi, Pakistan, killed at least 57 people and injured 130 others.


In 2011, a record rash of Texas wildfires ravaged 34,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,600 homes. The state was in the grip of its worst drought since the 1950s.

Also in 2011, Typhoon Talas belted western Japan with 75 mph winds and torrential rains that triggered deadly landslides. Authorities reported 18 dead and at least 50 others missing.

A thought for the day: Enoch Arnold Bennett said, "Pessimism, when you get used to it, is just as agreeable as optimism."

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