The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Friday, Dec. 6, the 340th day of 2013 with 25 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include England's King Henry VI in 1421; French chemist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac in 1778; pioneer Western movie star William S. Hart in 1864; poet Joyce Kilmer in 1886; lyricist Ira Gershwin in 1896; photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1898; actor Agnes Moorehead in 1900; bank robber Lester "Baby Face" Nelson in 1908; ice cream entrepreneur Irv Robbins in 1917; jazz pianist Dave Brubeck in 1920; football Hall of Fame member Otto Graham in 1921; comedian Wally Cox in 1924; actors James Naughton in 1945 (age 68), JoBeth Williams in 1948 (age 65) and Tom Hulce in 1953 (age 60); comedian Steven Wright in 1955 (age 58); actor Janine Turner in 1962 (age 51); director and screenwriter Judd Apatow in 1967 (age 46); Ryan White, U.S. HIV/AIDS activist, in 1971; and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, in 1992 (age 21).


On this date in history:

In 1768, Encyclopedia Britannica was first published.

In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery in the United States.

In 1877, The Washington Post published its first edition.

In 1907, in West Virginia's Marion County, an explosion in a network of mines owned by the Fairmont Coal Co. in Monongah killed 361 coal miners. It was the worst mining disaster in U.S. history.

In 1917, more than 1,600 people died in an explosion when a Belgian relief ship and a French munitions vessel collided in the harbor at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In 1922, the Irish Free State, forerunner of the modern Republic of Ireland, was officially proclaimed.

In 1933, following the repeal of Prohibition, Americans crowded into liquor stores, bars and cafes to buy their first legal alcoholic beverages in 13 years.

In 1941, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a message to Japanese Emperor Hirohito expressing hope that gathering war clouds would be dispelled. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor the next day.

In 1973, Gerald Ford was sworn in as U.S. vice president under Richard Nixon, replacing Spiro Agnew, who had resigned in the face of income tax-evasion charges.


In 1975, the U.S. Senate authorized a $2.3 billion emergency loan to save New York City from bankruptcy.

In 1997, the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East was hit by one of the largest earthquakes recorded, measuring 8.5 to 9 in magnitude, but there were no reported deaths in the sparsely populated region.

In 2003, U.S. Embassy officials confirmed that U.S. troops apparently accidentally bombed a house near Ghazni, Afghanistan, killing nine children and one adult.

In 2005, an Iranian military aircraft hit a 10-story residential building in Tehran and exploded shortly after takeoff, killing at least 128 people.

In 2006, Robert Gates was confirmed as the secretary of defense by the U.S. Senate on a 95-2 vote.

In 2010, Julian Assange, the Australian-born co-founder of WikiLeaks, the whistle-blower website that published thousands of secret U.S. government documents, was arrested in England on a Swedish warrant accusing him of sexual assault.

In 2012, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., announced he would leave the Senate to head the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

A thought for the day: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Houghwout Jackson wrote, "The day that this country ceases to be free for irreligion, it will cease to be free for religion."


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