The almanac

By United Press International  |  Feb. 17, 2014 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, Feb. 17, the 48th day of 2014 with 317 to follow.

This is observed in the United States as Presidents' Day.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include mail order retailer Aaron Montgomery Ward in 1843; engraver Frederic Ives in 1856; Texas oil millionaire H.L. Hunt in 1889; sportscaster Red Barber in 1908; author Margaret Truman Daniel, daughter of U.S. President Harry Truman, in 1924; actors Hal Holbrook in 1925 (age 89) and Alan Bates in 1934; football Hall of Fame member and actor Jim Brown in 1936 (age 78); singer Gene Pitney in 1940; political activist Huey P. Newton in 1942; actors Brenda Fricker in 1945 (age 69), Rene Russo in 1954 (age 60), Richard Karn in 1956 (age 58) and Lou Diamond Phillips in 1962 (age 52); comedian Larry the Cable Guy, born Daniel Whitney, in 1963 (age 51); basketball Hall of Fame member Michael Jordan in 1963 (age 51); film director Michael Bay in 1965 (age 49); actor Jerry O'Connell in 1974 (age 40); actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and heiress Paris Hilton, both in 1981 (age 33); and actor Bonnie Wright in 1991 (age 23).

On this date in history:

In 1801, the U.S. House of Representatives chose Thomas Jefferson as the third president of the United States after he and Aaron Burr tied in the Electoral College. It took 35 House ballots before Jefferson won and Burr became vice president.

In 1817, Baltimore became the first U.S. city with gas-burning street lights.

In 1867, the first ship passed through the Suez Canal.

In 1904, Giacomo Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" premiered in Milan, Italy.

In 1909, Apache leader Geronimo died while under military confinement at Fort Sill, Okla.

In 1933, Newsweek magazine published its first issue.

In 1968, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame opened in Springfield, Mass.

In 1979, "A Prairie Home Companion," hosted by Garrison Keillor, made its debut on National Public Radio.

In 1986, Johnson and Johnson halted production of all non-prescription drugs in capsules following the death of a Peekskill, N.Y., woman from cyanide-laced Extra-Strength Tylenol.

In 2003, after security guards used pepper spray to break up a fight at a packed Chicago social club a stampede to the exits by panicked patrons resulted in 21 deaths.

In 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush nominated John Negroponte to be the first director of national intelligence.

In 2006, more than 1,000 people were killed in a mudslide that covered a village on Leyte in the central Philippines.

In 2008, the province of Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Thousands of ethnic Albanians celebrated in the streets but others resorted to violent protest. The United States and several other countries, including Britain, Germany, and France, recognized Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state.

In 2009, General Motors and Chrysler asked for an additional $14 billion from the government to keep from going bankrupt. That upped their total requests to $39 billion.

In 2011, the British government advised same-sex couples they can form civil partnerships in church if they wish.

In 2013, tens of thousands of people marched past the White House urging U.S. President Barack Obama to reject the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

A thought for the day: Aldous Huxley wrote, "Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you."

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