UPI Almanac for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

GM announces big cutbacks, historic filibuster rules change ... on this date in history.
By United Press International  |  Nov. 21, 2014 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, Nov. 21, the 325th day of 2014 with 40 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include French explorer of North America Rene Robert de La Salle in 1643; French author Francois-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire, in 1694; William Beaumont, pioneer U.S. Army surgeon, in 1785; British steamship company founder Samuel Cunard in 1787; Belgian painter Rene Magritte in 1898; jazz saxophonist Coleman Hawkins in 1904; dancer/actor Eleanor Powell in 1912; football Hall of fame member Sid Luckman in 1916; baseball Hall of Fame member Stan Musial in 1920; actors Joseph Campanella in 1927 (age 87), Laurence Luckinbill in 1934 (age 80), Marlo Thomas in 1937 (age 77) and Juliet Mills in 1941 (age 73); musician Dr. John, born Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack Jr., in 1940 (age 74); basketball Hall of Fame member Earl Monroe and TV producer Marcy Carsey in 1944, (age 70); filmmaker/actor Harold Ramis, also in 1944; actors Goldie Hawn in 1945 (age 69), Lorna Luft in 1952 (age 62), Nicollette Sheridan in 1963 (age 51) and Rain Phoenix in 1972 (age 42); musician Bjork in 1965 (age 49); and football Hall of Fame member Troy Aikman in 1966 (age 48).

On this date in history:

In 1783, in Paris, Jean de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes made the first free-flight ascent in a balloon.

In 1877, Thomas Edison announced his invention of the phonograph.

In 1938, Nazi forces occupied western Czechoslovakia and declared its people German citizens.

In 1974, the U.S. Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act over President Gerald Ford's veto.

In 1985, Jonathan Jay Pollard, a civilian U.S. Navy intelligence analyst and Jewish American, was arrested on charges of illegally passing classified U.S. security information about Arab nations to Israel. (Pollard, sentenced to life in prison, is eligible for parole in November 2015.)

In 1991, U.S. President George H.W. Bush signed the Civil Rights Act of 1991, making it easier for workers to sue in job discrimination cases.

In 2003, U.S. House of Representatives and Senate conferees finished the final version of an approximately $400 billion, 1,000-page bill that would create prescription drug coverage for 42 million Americans on Medicare.

In 2004, Iraqi authorities set Jan. 30, 2005, as the date for the nation's first election since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship.

In 2005, General Motors Corp., the world's biggest carmaker, announced it was cutting its payroll by 30,000 employees and would be shutting down all or parts of a dozen plants.

In 2006, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced a restoration of diplomatic ties with Syria after 24 years of strained relations.

In 2010, Ireland asked its European partners for a financial rescue package of about $90 billion to bolster its sagging economy.

In 2011, the United States and Britain imposed new sanctions on Iran because of its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

In 2012, a cease-fire was announced after eight days of fighting that officials said killed about 130 Palestinians and six Israelis. Hundreds of people were injured. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he held Hamas responsible to keep the truce.

In 2013, the U.S. Senate made a historic rules change that weakened the power of the filibuster, which opposition parties have used to slow or derail presidential nominations. The change cut the number of votes needed for approval of executive and most judicial nominees from 60 votes to 51. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the action was taken because Americans "believe the Senate is broken -- and I believe they are right."

A thought for the day: "I've never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don't understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now." -- Sophia Loren

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