The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Thursday, Feb. 7, the 38th day of 2013 with 327 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include English statesman and writer Thomas More in 1478; farm equipment manufacturer John Deere in 1804; English novelist Charles Dickens in 1812; "Little House" books author Laura Ingalls Wilder in 1867; novelist Sinclair Lewis in 1885; ragtime composer and pianist Eubie Blake in 1887; Buster Crabbe, actor ("Flash Gordon") and Olympic swimming gold medalist, in 1908; writer Gay Talese in 1932 ; actors Pete Postlethwaite in 1946, Miguel Ferrer in 1955 (age 58), James Spader in 1960 (age 53), Eddie Izzard in 1962 (age 51) and Ashton Kutcher in 1978 (age 35); comedian Emo Philips in 1956 (age 57); country singer Garth Brooks in 1962 (age 51); and comedian Chris Rock in 1966 (age 47).


On this date in history:

In 1497, the Bonfire of the Vanities in Florence, Italy, took place when followers of Girolamo Savonarola burned thousands of books, art and cosmetics.

In 1795, States ratified the U.S. Constitution's 11th Amendment, which outlines the power of the federal judiciary.

In 1898, Emile Zola was tried for libel following publication of "J'Accuse."

In 1904, a massive fire, possibly started by a discarded cigarette, struck Baltimore, burning for 31 hours and destroying an 80-block downtown area. Miraculously no lives or homes were lost.

In 1940, British railroads were nationalized.

In 1956, Autherine Lucy, the first black person admitted to the University of Alabama, was expelled after she accused school officials of conspiring in the riots that accompanied her court-ordered enrollment.

In 1964, the Beatles arrived in the United States for the first time and immediately set off a frantic wave of "Beatlemania."

In 1973, the U.S. Senate voted to set up a committee to investigate the break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington's Watergate complex.

In 1984, two U.S. shuttle astronauts made the first untethered space walk.

In 1986, both Ferdinand Marcos and challenger Corazon Aquino claimed victory in the Philippine presidential election.


Also in 1986, Haiti's President for Life Jean-Claude Duvalier fled to France.

In 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was inaugurated as Haiti's first democratically elected president in 186 years.

Also in 1991, The British Cabinet, meeting at London's 10 Downing St., was attacked with mortars by members of the Irish Republic Army.

In 1992, the European Union was created when the Maastricht Treaty was signed.

In 1993, 13 more women accused U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood of improper advances, bringing the total to 23 women who have said the Oregon Republican harassed them with unwelcome sexual overtures.

In 1995, the alleged mastermind in the 1993 bombing of New York's World Trade Center, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, was arrested in Pakistan.

In 1999, King Hussein of Jordan died of cancer at age 63. Hussein ruled Jordan for 46 years.

In 2003, Colombian rebels were blamed for a bomb explosion at a Bogota social club that killed more than 30 people.

In 2005, rescuers reported no survivors among the 104 people aboard an Afghan airliner that crashed in the mountains near Kabul. It was Afghanistan's worst air disaster.

In 2007, the U.S. military confirmed a twin-rotor Sea Knight transport helicopter crashed northwest of Baghdad, the fifth in 18 days. Seven died in the latest crash.


In 2008, the U.S. Congress gave final approval to a $168 billion stimulus package for taxpayers in an effort to rekindle the flickering American economy. Rebates of $300-$600 went to individuals earning up to $75,000 and to couples with incomes up to $150,000, plus extra money for children.

Also in 2008, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said she lent her campaign $5 million before Super Tuesday "to be competitive." Further, some senior members of Clinton's campaign staff reportedly agreed to go without pay for a month.

In 2009, the worst series of brushfires in Australian history claimed more than 200 lives, destroyed almost 2,000 homes and burned at least 1.1 million acres in Victoria state.

Also in 2009, the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, major league baseball's highest paid player, admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs earlier in his career.

In 2010, Viktor Yanukovich regained the Ukrainian presidency with a close runoff election over Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

In 2011, anti-government groups protesting in Cairo's Tahrir Square in a determined bid to oust Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak formed a unified leadership to provide a voice for demonstrators in the future.


Also in 2011, a mutiny within joint north and south Sudanese forces on the regional border claimed up to 50 lives.

In 2012, a federal appeals court in California rejected a ban on same-sex marriage that voters had approved four years earlier. The court ruled the ban violated the constitutional rights of those involved.

Also in 2012, polar researchers announced Russian scientists briefly pierced the 2-mile-thick veil over a freshwater lake hidden beneath Antarctica's ice sheet for millions of years.

A thought for the day: Victor Hugo wrote, "An invasion of armies can be resisted but not an idea whose time has come."

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