The almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 16, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Sunday, Sept. 16, the 260th day of 2012 with 106 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include England's King Henry V in 1386; historian Francis Parkman in 1823; railroad magnate James Jerome "J.J." Hill in 1838; department store founder James Cash Penney in 1875; artist Jean Arp in 1886; British car designer Walter Bentley in 1888; children's author and creator of "Curious George" H.A. Rey in 1898; entertainer Allen Funt in 1914; writer Laurence J. Peter in 1919; actor Lauren Bacall in 1924 (age 88); blues musician B.B. King in 1925 (age 87); actors Peter Falk and Jack Kelly, both in 1927, and Anne Francis in 1930; basketball Hall of Fame member Elgin Baylor in 1934 (age 78); actors Susan Ruttan in 1948 (age 64), Ed Begley Jr. in 1949 (age 63) and Mickey Rourke in 1952 (age 60); baseball Hall of Fame member Robin Yount in 1955 (age 57); magician David Copperfield in 1956 (age 56); actor Jennifer Tilly in 1958 (age 54); comedians Molly Shannon in 1964 (age 48) and Amy Poehler in 1971 (age 41); singer/actor Marc Anthony in 1968 (age 44); and Jonas Brothers band member Nick Jonas in 1992 (age 20).

On this date in history:

In 1620, the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, with 102 passengers, bound for America.

In 1810, Mexico began its war of independence against Spain.

In 1893, more than 100,000 people rushed to the Cherokee Strip as a large area of the Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, was opened to homesteaders.

In 1974, U.S. President Gerald Ford offered conditional amnesty to Vietnam draft evaders. He said they could return to the United States if they performed up to two years of public service.

In 1977, celebrated soprano Maria Callas died in Paris at the age of 53.

In 1982, hundreds of people were killed after Christian militiamen entered two Palestinian refugee camps in West Beirut, Lebanon. Survivors claimed Israeli forces had sealed off the camps.

In 1986, fire and fumes in the Kinross mine killed 177 people in South Africa's worst gold mine disaster.

In 1994, a U.S. federal court jury in Anchorage, Alaska, ordered Exxon to pay $5 billion dollars to the fishermen and natives whose lives were affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, largest award ever in a pollution case.

In 1999, at least 18 people were killed and 200 more injured in the bombing of an apartment building in Volgodonsk, Russia.

And in 1999, Congress doubled the U.S. presidential salary, from $200,000 a year to $400,000, effective in 2001.

In 2004, Hurricane Jeanne killed an estimated 1,500 people in Haiti.

In 2007, as many as 89 people were killed but 42 survived when a budget airliner crashed and burned in Thailand.

Also in 2007, former NFL running back and actor O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged with robbery, assault, burglary and conspiracy in a Las Vegas armed robbery.

In 2008, the Federal Reserve took the unprecedented step to seize control of the American International Group, one of the world's largest insurance firms, and agreed to lend AIG $85 billion, a figure that grew considerably over the weeks to come.

Also in 2008, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, who oversaw the surge of troops into Iraq, was chosen to become commander of the U.S. Central Command that covered all of the Middle East. He was succeeded in Iraq by U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno.

In 2009, the U.S. Congress voted to officially rebuke Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., for yelling, "You lie!" at U.S. President Barack Obama during a speech on healthcare reform.

Also in 2009, Richard Trumka, a former coal miner, was elected president of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor federation.

In 2010, the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line in 2009 reached a 15-year high of 14.3 percent -- or about 43.67 million people -- up from 39.8 million or 13.2 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. The poverty level represented $10,830 in pretax cash income for a single adult and $22,050 for a family of four.

In 2011, a vintage P-51 Mustang fighter plane crashed into a crowd of onlookers at the National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno, Nev., killing 11 people, including the 74-year-old pilot, Jimmy Leeward, and injuring about 75 others.

Also in 2011, Syrian security forces killed a reported 29 protesters in the continuing government crackdown on participants in the 6-month-old revolt against President Bashar Assad. Meanwhile, another major offensive began near the Turkish border.

A thought for the day: Bertrand Russell argued that "Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it."

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