The almanac

United Press International

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 18, the 261st day of 2013 with 104 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include English poet and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, writer of the first English dictionary, in 1709; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story in 1779; French physicist Leon Foucault, inventor of the gyroscope, in 1819; choreographer Agnes de Mille in 1905; actors Greta Garbo in 1905, Leon Askin in 1907, Jack Warden in 1920 and Robert Blake in 1933 (age 80); film producer Bud Greenspan in 1926; comedian Fred Willard in 1939 (age 74); singer/actor Frankie Avalonin 1940 (age 73); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Dee Dee Ramone in 1951; surgeon and political commentator Dr. Ben Carson, also in 1951, (age 62); basketball Hall of Fame member Rick Pitino in 1952 (age 61); Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges in 1956 (age 57); baseball Hall of Fame member Ryne Sandberg in 1959 (age 54); actor Holly Robinson Peete in 1964 (age 49); actor Jada Pinkett Smith and cyclist Lance Armstrong, both in 1971 (age 42).


On this date in history:

In 1850, the U.S. Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, allowing slave owners to reclaim slaves who escaped into another state.

In 1851 The New York Daily Times published its first issue.

In 1927, the Columbia Broadcasting System was born. Originally known as the Tiffany Network, its first program was an opera, "The King's Henchman."

In 1928, a hurricane that lashed Florida and the West Indies for five days left an estimated 4,000 people dead and $30 million in damage.

In 1961, U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold died when his plane crashed under mysterious circumstances near Ndola in Northern Rhodesia.

In 1970, rock star Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27 following a drug overdose in London.

In 1975, FBI agents in San Francisco captured heiress Patricia Hearst and two of her Symbionese Liberation Army comrades, William and Emily Harris.

In 1983, British adventurer George Meegan finished a 19,021-mile, six-year walk from the tip of South America to the Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

In 1990, Winnie Mandela, wife of South African black leader Nelson Mandela, was charged with assault and kidnapping in the 1988 abduction and slaying of a 14-year-old boy by her chief bodyguard.


In 1996, the shuttle Atlantis docked with the Mir space station to pick up U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid, who had set a U.S. record for time spent in space.

In 2003, Hurricane Isabel slammed into the North Carolina coast, causing a reported 40 deaths and inflicting property damage estimated at $5 billion.

In 2004, the U.N. Security Council called for Sudan to put an end to killings in the Darfur region where an estimated 50,000 people died in militia raids over 18 months.

In 2005, Afghanistan had its first free election in 25 years, drawing millions of voters despite Taliban threats.

In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in approving a civil rights bill that broadens the definition of disability to include epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other illnesses.

In 2009, the final episode of "The Guiding Light" was broadcast. The soap opera had run on radio and television for 72 years.

In 2010, violence and threats of violence during Afghanistan's parliamentary elections kept 60 percent of eligible voters from polls and left at least 14 people dead. A total of 2,514 candidates vied for seats in the 249-member Parliament.


In 2012, U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said his comment about 47 percent of Americans "who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you-name-it" was "not elegantly stated." A day earlier, the 47 percent comment, secretly recorded at a GOP fundraiser in May, was released on the Internet.

A thought for the day: American reformer Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, "The Bible and the church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation."

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