The Almanac

By United Press International   |   May 17, 2003 at 3:30 AM

Today is Saturday, May 17, the 137th day of 2003 with 228 to follow.

This is Armed Forces Day.

The moon is waning.

The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The evening stars are Jupiter and Saturn.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include English physician Edward Jenner, developer of the smallpox vaccine, in 1749; English writer Robert Surtees in 1803; Schuyler Wheeler, inventor of the electric fan, in 1860; French composer Erik Satie in 1866; Negro League baseball player James "Cool Papa" Bell in 1903; actress Maureen O'Sullivan in 1911; actor/director Dennis Hopper in 1936 (age 67); actors Bill Paxton in 1955 (age 48) and Bob Sagat in 1956 (age 47); boxer "Sugar Ray" Leonard in 1956 (age 47); and American star soccer player Mia Hamm in 1972 (age 31).

On this date in history:

In 1792, 24 brokers met in New York City and formed the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1875, Aristides was the winner of the first Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

In 1954, in a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

In 1973, the Senate Watergate Committee opened hearings into the break-in at Democratic National headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In 1987, two Iraqi Exocet missiles hit the frigate USS Stark in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 seamen. Iraq apologized for mistaking the ship's identity and the Stark's top officers were reprimanded and retired.

In 1989, one million people demonstrated for democratic reforms in Beijing. The number of students fasting reached 3,000.

In 1990, Joseph Fama, 19, accused triggerman in New York's Bensonhurst racial slaying, was convicted of murder for taking part in an attack by a mob of bat-wielding whites that left a black teenager dead. The next day, accused ringleader Keith Mondello, 19, was cleared of murder and manslaughter but convicted of lesser charges.

In 1991, the Commerce Department announced that the U.S. trade deficit had fallen to $4.05 billion in March, the lowest in eight years.

In 1994, the U.N. Security Council approved sending troops to secure the airport in the civil war-torn African nation of Rwanda.

Also in 1994, a 30-year dictatorship ended in Malawi ended with the election of a new president in the African nation.

In 1995, a preliminary report by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics found "substantial credible evidence" that Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Oregon, made unwanted sexual advances toward a number of women.

Also in 1995, Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, acknowledged he had invested $7500 in 1974 in what he'd been told was going to be an R-rated movie spoof of beauty contests. The film was never made.

In 1999, Israel's hawkish prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, lost his bid for re-election as Israeli voters elected Ehud Barak, head of the center-left Israel One coalition, as their new prime minister.

In 2000, prosecutors in Birmingham, Ala., charged two longtime suspects in the deaths of four little girls in a church bombing in 1963 that became a watershed event in the civil rights movement. The suspects would be convicted in May 2001.

A thought for the day: Frank Lloyd Wright said, "The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his clients to plant vines."

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