The almanac

By United Press International  |  Jan. 3, 2013 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, Jan. 3, the third day of 2013 with 362 to follow.

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

Those born on this date were under the sign of Capricorn. They include Roman philosopher Cicero in B.C. 106; feminist and abolitionist Lucretia Mott in 1793; St. Damien of Molokai, a missionary to lepers in Hawaii, in 1840; British Prime Minister Clement Attlee in 1883; J.R.R. Tolkien, author of "The Lord of the Rings," in 1892; actors ZaSu Pitts in 1894, Ray Milland in 1907 and Betty Furness in 1916; entertainer Victor Borge in 1909; Maxene Andrews, of the Andrews Sisters singing trio, in 1916; football Hall of Fame Coach Hank Stram in 1923; Beatles record producer George Martin in 1926 (age 87); Italian film director Sergio Leone and Brazilian composer Ernst Mahle (age 84), both in 1929; actors Robert Loggia in 1930 (age 83) and Dabney Coleman in 1932 (age 81); hockey Hall of Fame member Bobby Hull in 1939 (age 74); musician Van Dyke Parks in 1943 (age 70); rock 'n' roll Hall of Fame members Stephen Stills in 1945 (age 68) and John Paul Jones in 1946 (age 67); German racing champion Michael Schumacher in 1969 (age 44); actor Victoria Principal in 1950 (age 63) and actor/director Mel Gibson in 1956 (age 57); actor Danica McKellar in 1975 (age 38); and pro football quarterback Eli Manning in 1981 (age 32).

On this date in history:

In 1777, the Continental Army commanded by Gen. George Washington defeated the British at Princeton, N.J.

In 1938, the first March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was organized.

In 1959, Alaska became the 49th state of the United States.

In 1961, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba after Fidel Castro announced he was a communist.

In 1967, Jack Ruby, who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the assumed assassin of President John F. Kennedy, died of cancer in Dallas.

In 1969, police at Newark, N.J., confiscated a shipment of the John Lennon-Yoko Ono albums "Two Virgins" because the cover photo, featuring full frontal nudity, violated pornography laws.

In 1990, deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega left his refuge in the Vatican Embassy in Panama City and surrendered to U.S. troops. He was taken to Florida to face narcotics trafficking charges.

In 1991, AIDS was removed from the list of diseases that would automatically bar an infected person from entering the United States.

In 1993, U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the START II treaty reducing strategic nuclear arsenals by two-thirds.

In 2001, the 107th U.S. Congress convened for the first time with the Senate equally divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans had a 10-member advantage in the House of Representatives.

In 2003, Democrats John Kerry, John Edwards, Howard Dean and Al Sharpton announced runs for their party's 2004 presidential nomination.

In 2004, a Flash Airline Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff in Egypt, killing 148 people.

Also in 2004, a NASA robotic explorer called Spirit touched down on Mars, sending a signal that it survived the descent through the Martian atmosphere.

In 2005, Indonesia's Ministry of Health announced another 14,000 deaths, bringing the total of lives lost in Asia's earthquake and tsunami disaster to 155,000.

In 2006, Jack Abramoff, a powerful Washington lobbyist, agreed to plead guilty to fraud, public corruption and tax evasion charges and to testify against politicians and former colleagues.

Also in 2006, Iran advised the International Atomic Energy Agency it planned to restart work on what it called its "peaceful nuclear energy program."

In 2008, the Iowa caucuses got the U.S. presidential nomination campaign under way at its earliest date with Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee the initial winners.

In 2009, after more than a week of intense airstrikes, Israeli troops crossed into Gaza, launching a ground assault against the militant Palestinian group Hamas. More than 430 Palestinians and four Israelis were reported killed at that point.

In 2010, the U.S. government announced new stricter security screening procedures for airline passengers from certain countries, among them Iran, Pakistan, Yemen and Nigeria, as part of a crackdown following the botched Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound flight and including random patdowns and body scanning.

In 2011, two boats sank in the Red Sea in bad weather off Yemen, leaving about 80 Africans dead or presumed dead, the Yemeni Interior Ministry said.

Also in 2011, U.N. peacekeepers were ordered to search for proof of reported atrocities and mass graves in Ivory Coast where the bloody aftermath of a hotly disputed presidential election is said to have left more than 200 people dead.

In 2012, the Iowa caucus officially kicked off the U.S. presidential election process with more than half a dozen Republican candidates seeking the GOP nomination to face U.S. President Barack Obama, the uncontested Democratic incumbent, in November. Mitt Romney was initially declared the GOP winner in the first test with 25 percent of the vote. Subsequent counts, however, gave the win to Rick Santorum.

Also in 2012, the Taliban, chief insurgency group in Afghanistan, announced it would open a political office in Qatar. Observers saw the move as a positive sign that could lead to peace talks between the insurgents and the U.S.-led Afghan coalition.

A thought for the day: Henry David Thoreau said, "Be true to your work, your word and your friend."

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