The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Wednesday, Dec. 12, the 347th day of 2012 with 19 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include John Jay, first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1745; French novelist Gustave Flaubert in 1821; Norwegian painter Edvard Munch in 1863; actor Edward G. Robinson in 1893; English writer Patrick O'Brian in 1914; singer/actor Frank Sinatra in 1915; TV game show host Bob Barker in 1923 (age 89); former New York Mayor Edward Koch in 1924 (age 88); basketball Hall of Fame member Bob Pettit in 1932 (age 80); singers Connie Francis in 1938 (age 74) and Dionne Warwick in 1940 (age 72); rock musician Dickey Betts in 1943 (age 69); actor Tom Wilkinson in 1948 (age 64) and Bill Nighy in 1949 (age 63); former Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby in 1952 (age 60); musician Sheila E in 1957 (age 55), former tennis star Tracy Austin in 1962 (age 50); and actor Mayim Bialik in 1975 (age 37).


In this date in history:

In 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1870, Joseph Hayne Rainey of South Carolina was sworn in as the first African-American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1901, Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1913, two years after it was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris, Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece "The Mona Lisa" was recovered in a Florence, Italy, hotel room.

In 1917, the Rev. Edward J. Flanagan, a 31-year-old Irish priest, opened the doors to Boys Town, a home for troubled and neglected children in Omaha. He lived by the adage, "There is no such thing as a bad boy."

In 1937, Japanese planes bombed and sank the U.S. gunboat Panay in the Yangtze River north of Nanking, China. Japan later said it was a mistake.

In 1975, Sara Jane Moore said she willfully tried to kill U.S. President Gerald Ford. She was sentenced to life in prison but was released Dec. 31, 2007.

In 1981, martial law was imposed in Poland.


In 1985, the crash of an Arrow Air DC-8 military charter on takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland, killed all 256 aboard, including 248 U.S. soldiers.

In 1990, 15 people were killed and more than 260 injured in a pileup of vehicles on a foggy Tennessee highway.

In 1991, the Russian Parliament ratified a commonwealth treaty linking the three strongest Soviet republics in the nation's most profound change since the 1917 revolution.

In 2002, North Korea announced it would reactivate a nuclear reactor idle since 1994.

Also in 2002, the European Union invited 10 nations, including Poland and Hungary, to join its ranks in 2004.

In 2003, Paul Martin became Canada's 21st prime minister, succeeding Jean Chretien.

In 2005, Jibran Tueni, an anti-Syrian member of the Lebanese Parliament and head of a leading Lebanon newspaper, was assassinated when an explosion tore through his armored car outside Beirut.

In 2006, a Baghdad suicide bomber, luring the unemployed to his truck with promises of work, killed at least 60 people and injured 220 others.

Also in 2006, more than 1,000 federal agents raided Swift meatpacking plants in six states, arresting more than 1,200 undocumented workers in a 10-month investigation into identity theft by illegal immigrants.


And, Elizabeth Bolden, reportedly the world's oldest person, died at a Memphis nursing home at the age of 116. She was born Aug. 15, 1890, to freed slaves.

In 2007, central banks in Europe and North America worked on plans to lend billions of dollars to the U.S. banking system in an effort to ease the credit crisis.

Also in 2007, nearly 30 people were killed and 150 wounded when three car bombs exploded in the southern Iraqi city of Amara.

And, Alberto Fujimori, the former president of Peru, was convicted of abuse of power and sentenced to six years in prison.

In 2008, an Iraqi journalist, calling him a "dog," threw two shoes at U.S. President Bush during a news conference in the Iraqi prime minister's office in Baghdad. Bush ducked and wasn't struck.

In 2009, as many as 100,000 marchers from nearly 200 countries swarmed over central Copenhagen. Denmark, urging action on global climate change by representatives, sought international accord on mandatory cutbacks in greenhouse gases.

In 2010, a South Korean fishing boat with 42 people aboard sank north of Antartica. There were 20 reported survivors. The boat's owner said the craft might have hit an iceberg.


In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the way the Board of Immigration Appeals applies federal law in deportation cases. The high court opinion said the

BIA's method "is 'arbitrary and capricious' under the [federal] Administrative Procedure Act."

A thought for the day: Leon Blum wrote, "I have often thought morality may perhaps consist solely in the courage of making a choice."

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