The Almanac

By United Press International   |   April 1, 2004 at 3:30 AM

Today is Thursday, April 1, the 92nd day of 2004 with 274 to follow.

This is April Fool's Day.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include German military theorist Prince Otto von Bismarck in 1815; Italian pianist and composer Ferruccio Busoni in 1866; Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1873; actors Lon Chaney Sr. in 1883 and Wallace Beery in 1886; actor Toshiro Mifune in 1920 (age 84); author William Manchester ("Death of a President") in 1922 (age 82); actresses/singers Jane Powell in 1928 (age 76) and Debbie Reynolds in 1932 (age 72); and actresses Ali McGraw in 1938 (age 66) and Annette O'Toole in 1953 (age 51).

On this date in history:

In 1789, enough congressmen arrived in New York City so the U.S. House of Representatives could achieve a quorum.

In 1918, toward the end of World War I, the Royal Air Force was founded. Two months later, Britain began bombing industrial targets in Germany from bases in France.

In 1924, Adolph Hitler was sent to prison for five years after failing in his first effort to take over Germany by force, the unsuccessful "Beer Hall Putsch" in the German state of Bavaria.

In 1945, American forces swarmed ashore on the Japanese island of Okinawa, to begin what would be one of the longest and bloodiest battles of World War II.

In 1979, Iran declared itself an Islamic Republic.

In 1982, the United States formally transferred control of the Panama Canal Zone to the government of Panama.

In 1986, world oil prices dipped below $10 a barrel.

In 1991, Moscow food stores closed to curb panic buying in anticipation of government price increases.

In 1992, President Bush announced a $24-billion aid package to the former Soviet republics.

In 1993, the FCC ordered the nation's cable television industry to cut its basic monthly rates by about 10 percent.

In 1996, an outbreak of "mad cow" disease forced Britain to plan the mass slaughter of cows.

In 1997, in the first of two reports, the Justice Department concluded the FBI had erred seriously in its investigation into the July 1996 bombing at Olympic Park in Atlanta.

In 1998, a federal judge dismissed the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones against President Clinton.

In 1999, Canada created a new territory, Nunavut, as a means of providing autonomy for the Inuit people.

In 2000, the mediator in the Microsoft antitrust case said the software giant and the government had abandoned talks to settle the case.

In 2001, a U.S. Navy spy plane collided with a Chinese jetfighter off the coast of China. The Chinese plane crashed into the ocean; the damaged U.S. plane landed on the Chinese island of Hainan, where its 24 crewmembers were held for 11 days.

In 2002, the United States and Pakistan announced the capture of a top al-Qaida leader, a major break in their war on terrorism,

In 2002 sports, Maryland won its first national men's collegiate basketball championship with a 64-52 win over Indiana.

In 2003, U.S. Marines rescued Pfc. Jessica Lynch, 19, who had been held prisoner in Iraq since an ambush on March 23.

Also in 2003, figures released on April 1 listed 46 U.S. military personnel dead in Iraq, seven captured and 16 missing. The British reported 27 dead.

A thought for the day: Marcel Marceau said, "It's good to shut up sometimes."

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