The almanac

By United Press International  |  March 30, 2014 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Sunday, March 30, the 89th day of 2014 with 276 to follow.

The moon is new. 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 Aries. They include Spanish painter Francisco Jose de Goya in 1746; German chemist Robert Bunsen, inventor of the Bunsen gas burner, in 1811; English author Anna Sewell ("Black Beauty") in 1820; English social reformer Charles Booth in 1840; Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh in 1853; Irish dramatist Sean O'Casey in 1880; philanthropist Brooke Astor in 1902; former CIA Director Richard Helms and singer Frankie Laine, both in 1913; TV host Peter Marshall in 1926 (age 88); actors Richard Dysart in 1929 (age 85), John Astin in 1930 (age 84) and Warren Beatty in 1937 (age 77); basketball Hall of Fame member Jerry Lucas in 1940 (age 74); rock musician Graeme Edge in 1941 (age 73); British blues/rock guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Eric Clapton in 1945 (age 69); actors Robbie Coltrane in 1950 (age 64) and Paul Reiser in 1957 (age 57); television commentator Piers Morgan in 1965 (age 49); and singers MC Hammer, born Stanley Burrell, in 1962 (age 52), Tracy Chapman in 1964 (age 50), Celine Dion in 1968 (age 46) and Norah Jones in 1979 (age 35).

On this date in history:

In 1842, Dr. Crawford Long became the first physician to use anesthetic (ether) in surgery.

In 1858, a U.S. patent was granted to Hymen Lipman for a pencil with an attached eraser.

In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William Seward reached an agreement with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million in gold.

In 1870, the 15th Amendment, granting African-American men the right to vote, was adopted into the U.S. Constitution.

In 1923, the Cunard liner "Laconia" arrived in New York City, the first passenger ship to circumnavigate the world. It was a cruise of 130 days.

In 1975, the South Vietnamese city of Da Nang fell to North Vietnamese forces.

In 1981, U.S. President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr. outside a Washington hotel. White House press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent and a Washington police officer also were wounded.

In 1998, Armenian Premier Robert Kocharian was elected president in a runoff election in the former Soviet republic.

In 1999, a jury in Oregon awarded $81 million in damages to the family of a smoker who had died from lung cancer. (A state judge reduced the punitive portion to $32 million.)

In 2006, Jill Carroll, a freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, was freed in Baghdad after being held for 82 days by kidnappers.

In 2008, flooding in Tanzanian mines killed at least 75 men, government officials said. Many of the victims appeared to have been engulfed by rising water as they worked.

In 2010, gunmen killed 10 students after they apparently failed to stop at a checkpoint, similar to those used by drug traffickers, in the Mexican state of Durango while en route to pick up government scholarships.

In 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama called for cutting oil imports by one-third within a decade, a goal he called "reasonable, achievable and necessary."

In 2013, Kenya's Supreme Court upheld the country's disputed March 4 election of Uhuru Kenyatta as president.

A thought for the day: "Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men." -- Gen. George S. Patton Jr.

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