The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Thursday, March 20, the 79th day of 2014 with 286 to follow.

This is the first day of spring.


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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include adventurer and writer Edward Judson, originator of the dime novel, writing as Ned Buntline, in 1823; Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen in 1828; psychologist B.F. Skinner in 1904; actor/bandleader Ozzie Nelson and former New York Mayor Abe Beame, both in 1906; British actors Michael Redgrave in 1908 and Vera Lynn in 1917; television host Jack Barry in 1918; diplomat Pamela Harriman in 1920; actor, producer, director Carl Reiner in 1922 (age 92); Fred Rogers (TV's "Mister Rogers") in 1928; actor Hal Linden in 1931 (age 83); singer/songwriter Jerry Reed in 1937; former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1939 (age 75); basketball Hall of Fame member Pat Riley in 1945 (age 69); hockey Hall of Fame member Bobby Orr in 1948 (age 66); actor William Hurt in 1950 (age 64); filmmaker Spike Lee and actor Theresa Russell, both in 1957 (age 57); actors Holly Hunter in 1958 (age 56) and David Thewlis in 1963 (age 51); and model and actor Kathy Ireland in 1963 (age 41).


On this date in history:

In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was published.

In 1854, in what is considered the founding meeting of the Republican Party, former members of the Whig Party met in Ripon, Wis., to establish a new party to oppose the spread of slavery into the western territories.

In 1963, a volcano on the East Indies island of Bali began erupting. (The death toll exceeded 1,500.)

In 1976, San Francisco newspaper heiress and kidnapping victim Patty Hearst was convicted of bank robbery.

In 1986, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at more than 1,800 for the first time.

In 1987, the U.S. government approved the sale of AZT, a treatment, but not a cure, for AIDS.

In 1995, 12 people were killed and more than 5,000 made ill in a nerve gas attack in the Tokyo subway system.

In 1996, the world learned of "mad cow" disease from a British government report questioning the safety of beef in Britain.

In 1997, the Liggett Group, fifth-largest U.S. tobacco company, agreed to admit that smoking was addictive and caused health problems, and that the tobacco industry had sought for years to sell its products to children as young as 14.


In 2001, five days after explosions destroyed one of its support beams, the largest oil rig in the world collapsed and sank off the coast of Brazil.

In 2003, Brian Patrick Regan, a retired Air Force master sergeant, was sentenced to life in prison for offering to sell intelligence secrets to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and to the Chinese government.

In 2004, after narrowly escaping assassination the day before, Chen Shui-bian was re-elected president of Taiwan with about 50 percent of the vote.

In 2007, former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan was hanged in Baghdad for his part in the 1982 deaths of 148 Shiites.

In 2010, accusations of sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests were reported on the increase in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Brazil.

In 2013, Omar al-Bashir, 69, president of Sudan for more than two decades, said he would not be a candidate in the next election in 2015.

A thought for the day: "Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of 10 people couldn't start a conversation." -- Kin Hubbard


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