The almanac

By United Press International  |  March 19, 2013 at 3:30 AM
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This is Tuesday, March 19, the 78th day of 2013 with 287 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include Plymouth Colony Gov. William Bradford in 1590; signer of the Declaration of Independence Thomas McKean in 1734; Scottish explorer of Africa David Livingstone in 1813; British explorer Richard Burton in 1821; U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp in 1848; politician, lawyer William Jennings Bryan in 1860; U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Stilwell in 1883; Chief U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren in 1891; comedian Moms Mabley in 1894; "Watergate" Judge John Sirica in 1904; actor Patrick McGoohan in 1928; author Philip Roth in 1933 (age 80); and actors Ursula Andress in 1936 (age 77), Glenn Close in 1947 (age 66) and Bruce Willis in 1955 (age 58); and film producer Harvey Weinstein in 1952 (age 61).

On this date in history:

In 721 B.C., the Roman historian Ptolemy said Babylonian astronomers noted history's first recorded eclipse: an eclipse of the moon.

In 1916, the first U.S. air combat mission in history saw eight Curtiss "Jenny" planes of the First Aero Squadron take off from Columbus, N.M., to aid troops that had invaded Mexico in pursuit of the bandit Pancho Villa.

In 1918, the U.S. Congress passed the Standard Time Act, which authorized the Interstate Commerce Commission to establish standard time zones in the United States.

In 1920, the Treaty of Versailles, establishing the League of Nations, was rejected by the U.S. Senate.

In 1931, in an effort to ease the hard times of the Great Depression, the Nevada Legislature voted to legalize gambling.

In 1942, with World War II under way, all men in the United States between the ages of 45 and 64, about 13 million, were ordered to register with draft boards.

In 1953, legendary filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille won the only Academy Award of his career when "The Greatest Show on Earth," a big-budget extravaganza about circus life, was acclaimed the Best Picture of the year.

In 1987, South Carolina televangelist Jim Bakker resigned as head of the PTL Club, saying he was blackmailed after a sexual encounter with former church secretary Jessica Hahn.

In 1991, Khaleda Zia became the first woman prime minister of Bangladesh.

In 2002, the Israeli army complete its pullout of the West Bank by leaving Bethlehem one day after Israeli Prime Minister Arial Sharon met with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. The following day a suicide bomber killed seven Israelis on a bus.

In 2003, the U.S.-led military offensive invaded Iraq with a nighttime assault on Baghdad.

Also in 2003, the U.S. Senate rejected a proposal supported by the Bush administration to allow drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

In 2005, Pakistan successfully tested a nuclear-capable missile with a range of 1,250 miles.

In 2006, the disputed presidential election in Belarus sparked street protests while international observers alleged fraud. Incumbent Alexander Lukashenko, who claimed 82.6 percent of the vote, was accused of rigging the election.

In 2007, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay allegedly admitted helping plan the bombings of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, and the USS Cole in Yemen.

In 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush marked the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by calling it a fight the United States "can and must win." He said removing Saddam Hussein from power "was the right decision."

In 2009, Mexican President Felipe Calderon says the military will help fight drug cartels until police are retrained to do the job. More than 6,000 people died in drug-related violence in 2008.

In 2010, in a rash of so-called homegrown terror threats, one U.S. resident admitted in a Chicago court to involvement in the deadly 2008 Dubai attack, another pleaded innocent in Philadelphia to terrorist fundraising and recruiting charges while five young Virginia Muslims were accused of terrorism in Pakistan.

In 2011, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, under heavy pressure to step down, told the West to drop the no-fly zone it declared this week to aid rebels demanding his ouster or face "consequences." The zone, stretching from Benghazi to Tripoli, aimed at halting Gadhafi airstrikes against protesters.

Also in 2011, Warren Christopher, secretary of state in the Clinton administration decorated for his role in securing the release of 52 U.S. hostages in Iran in 1981, died in Los Angeles of cancer at the age of 85.

In 2012, the U.S. Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into the fatal, high profile shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old high school student in Sanford, Fla., by a Hispanic neighborhood guard.

Also in 2012, a man claiming to be an avenging Al-Qaida member killed a rabbi, his two sons and another child at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, police said. Mohammed Merah, believed to have earlier killed three unarmed paratroopers, was slain after a 30-hour standoff with police.

A thought for the day: William Jennings Bryan said: "Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved."

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