The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Thursday, Feb. 20, the 51st day of 2014 with 314 to follow.

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 day are under the sign of Pisces. They include American Revolutionary War hero William Prescott in 1726; photographer Ansel Adams in 1902; Soviet leader Alexei Kosygin in 1904; actor Gale Gordon in 1906; TV emcee John Daly in 1914; fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt in 1924 (age 90); film director Robert Altman in 1925; author Richard Matheson in 1926; auto racing figures Bobby Unser in 1934 (age 80) and Roger Penske in 1937 (age 77); singers Nancy Wilson in 1937 (age 77) and Buffy Sainte-Marie in 1941 (age 73); actors Sidney Poitier in 1927 (age 87), Amanda Blake in 1929, Sandy Duncan in 1946 (age 68), Peter Strauss in 1947 (age 67) and Jennifer O'Neill in 1948 (age 66); hockey Hall of Fame member Phil Esposito in 1942 (age 72); socialite Ivana Trump in 1949 (age 65); heiress Patty Hearst Shaw in 1954 (age 60); comedian Joel Hodgson in 1960 (age 54); basketball Hall of Fame member Charles Barkley in 1963 (age 51); actors French Stewart in 1964 (age 50) and Andrew Shue in 1967 (age 47); model Cindy Crawford in 1966 (age 48); musician Kurt Cobain in 1967; and singer Rihanna Fenty in 1988 (age 26).


On this date in history:

In 1809, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Marbury vs. Madison decision, ruled the power of the federal government was no greater than that of any individual state of the Union.

In 1816, "The Barber of Seville" by Gioachino Rossini opened in Rome.

In 1872, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York.

In 1938, Anthony Eden resigned as Britain's foreign secretary to protest the "appeasement" policy of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain toward Nazi Germany.

In 1962, U.S. astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. He landed safely after three orbits in a Mercury spacecraft.

In 1991, U.S. troops penetrated Iraq, capturing as many as 500 Iraqi soldiers.

In 1998, Tara Lipinski, 15, of the United States became the youngest person to win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating.

In 2003, fire broke out during a rock concert at a West Warwick, R.I., nightclub, killing 100 people.

In 2006, the Danish newspaper that published controversial cartoons of Muslim Prophet Muhammad and triggered widespread, angry and often deadly protests ran a full-page apology in Saudi papers.

In 2008, a missile interceptor launched from a U.S. Navy ship knocked down a dying satellite 130 miles over the Pacific Ocean. Officials said the satellite contained 1,000 pounds of frozen toxic fuel.


In 2010, a minaret and part of the roof fell into a historic 18th-century mosque during services, killing at least 38 people and injuring 71 more in the ancient city of Meknes, Morocco.

In 2012, officials said poachers in search of ivory in northern Cameroon had slaughtered about 300 elephants for their tusks since mid-January.

In 2013, a U.S. Census Bureau report said American Indians have the highest poverty rate of any ethnic group in the country.

A thought for the day: Fly-fishing author John Gierach wrote, "The solution to any problem -- work, love, money, whatever -- is to go fishing, and the worse the problem the longer the trip should be."

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