The Almanac

By United Press International   |   April 8, 2004 at 3:30 AM

Today is Thursday, April 8, the 99th day of 2004 with 267 to follow.

The moon is waning. 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 Lewis Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 1726; pioneer neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing in 1869; actress Mary Pickford in 1893; Olympic figure skater Sonja Henie in 1912; former First Lady Betty Ford in 1918 (age 86); comedian Shecky Greene in 1926 (age 78); actor and former ambassador to Mexico John Gavin in 1928 (age 76); U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in 1938 (age 66); choreographer Michael Bennett of "A Chorus Line" fame in 1943; actor/singer John Schneider in 1954 (age 50); musician Julian Lennon in 1963 (age 41); actresses Robin Wright in 1966 (age 38) and Patricia Arquette in 1968 (age 36); and actor Taran Noah Smith ("Home Improvement") in 1984 (age 20).

On this date in history:

On this day, Buddhists celebrate the commemoration of the birth of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, thought to have lived in India from 563 B.C. to 483 B.C.

In 1917, Austria-Hungary, an ally of Germany, severed diplomatic relations with the United States.

In 1935, Congress approved the Works Progress Administration or WPA, a central part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal."

In 1949, 3-year-old Kathy Fiscus of San Marino, Calif., fell into an abandoned well. Her body was found two days later.

In 1952, President Truman ordered government seizure of the steel industry to avoid a general strike.

In 1960, the U.S. Senate passed the landmark Civil Rights Bill.

In 1965, Lawrence Bradford, 16, became the first black page appointed to the U.S. Senate.

In 1974, Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth's long-standing career record. Aaron played two more seasons ending with 755 homers.

In 1990, Ryan White, who put the face of a child on AIDS, died of the ailment at age 18.

In 1991, European nations began allowing Polish citizens to enter without visas.

In 1992, former tennis great Arthur Ashe confirmed he had AIDS. He said he'd contracted the disease from a blood transfusion.

In 1993, Marian Anderson, the first African-American singer to appear at New York's Metropolitan Opera, died at age 91.

In 1994, Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain, 27, was found dead in his Seattle home of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

In 1995, in his book "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam," former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamera wrote that he and other American leaders had been "wrong, terribly wrong" about the war.

In 1997, Mayor Richard Riordan of Los Angeles, a Republican, was re-elected.

In 2002, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein temporarily halted his country's oil exports, a move, he said, was aimed at damaging U.S. economy.

In 2003, by April 8, U.S.-led coalition troops had occupied major Iraqi government buildings and organized resistance had melted away.

Also in 2003, missiles fired from Israeli helicopter gunships killed a leader of the militant Hamas group in Gaza City.

A thought for the day: there's a Chinese proverb that says, "If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow."

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