The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Friday, Feb. 21, the 52nd day of 2014 with 313 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 Mexican revolutionary and military commander Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (conqueror of the Alamo) in 1794; Roman Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman in 1801; German bacteriologist August von Wassermann, who developed the blood test for syphilis, in 1866; classical guitarist Andres Segovia in 1893; writer Anais Nin in 1903; poet and author W.H. Auden in 1907; filmmaker Sam Peckinpah in 1925; humorist Erma Bombeck in 1927; King Harald V of Norway in 1937 (age 77); actors Rue McClanahan in 1934, Gary Lockwood in 1937 (age 77) and Tyne Daly, Anthony Daniels and Alan Rickman, all in 1946 (age 68); film/record executive David Geffen in 1943 (age 71); Tricia Nixon Cox, daughter of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, in 1946 (age 68); former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, in 1947 (age 67); author Jeffrey Shaara in 1952 (age 62); singer Mary Chapin Carpenter in 1958 (age 56); actors Kelsey Grammer in 1955 (age 59), Christopher Atkins in 1961 (age 53), William Baldwin in 1963 (age 51), Jennifer Love Hewitt in 1979 (age 35) and Ellen Page in 1987 (age 27); Chinese dissident Chen Wei in 1969 (age 45); and singer Charlotte Church in 1986 (age 28).


On this date in history:

In 1828, a printing press later used to print the first newspaper for American Indians arrived at the Cherokee Council in Echota, Ga.

In 1848, "The Communist Manifesto" was published by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

In 1878, the New Haven, Conn., Telephone Co. published the first phone directory. It listed 50 subscribers.

In 1885, the Washington Monument, a 555-foot-high marble obelisk built in honor of America's revolutionary hero and first president, was dedicated in Washington.

In 1916, Germans launched the Battle of Verdun. (More than 1 million soldiers in the German and French armies were killed in nearly 10 months of fighting -- the longest battle of World War I.)

In 1925, the first issue of The New Yorker was published.

In 1934, Nicaraguan guerrilla leader Cesar Augusto Sandino was killed by members of the Nicaraguan national guard.

In 1953, Francis Crick and James D. Watson discovered the double helix structure of the DNA molecule.

In 1965, Black Muslim leader Malcolm X was assassinated at a rally in New York.

In 1972, Richard Nixon became the first U.S. president to visit the People's Republic of China.


In 1994, longtime CIA counterintelligence officer Aldrich Ames and his wife, Maria, were arrested and charged with selling information to the Soviet Union and Russia. (Ames was sentenced to life in prison; his wife got a five-year term.)

In 1995, a Russian commission estimated as many as 24,400 civilians died in the a two-month uprising in the separatist republic of Chechnya.

In 2007, nuclear neighbors India and Pakistan signed a treaty in New Delhi aimed at preventing the accidental use of atomic weapons.

In 2012, a commuter train plowed into a barrier at a Buenos Aires station, killing 49 people and injuring hundreds more.

In 2013, former Illinois police Sgt. Drew Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the 2004 murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. (Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, who disappeared in 2007, remains missing.)

A thought for the day: "As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live." -- Pope John Paul II

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