Today is Friday, April 30, the 121st day of 2004 with 245 days to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Neptune, Uranus, Mercury and Pluto. The evening stars are Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1777; Hungarian composer Franz Lehar, who wrote the operetta "The Merry Widow," in 1870; actresses Eve Arden in 1912 and Cloris Leachman in 1926 (age 78); country singer Willie Nelson in 1933 (age 71); actor Gary Collins in 1938 (age 66); actress Jill Clayburgh in 1944 (age 60); Sweden's King Carl Gustav XVI in 1946 (age 58); actor Perry King in 1948 (age 56); film director Jane Campion ("The Piano") in 1954 (age 50); and actors Johnny Galecki ("Roseanne") in 1975 (age 29) and Kirsten Dunst in 1982 (age 22).
On this date in history:
In 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States.
In 1803, the United States more than doubled its land area with the Louisiana Purchase. It obtained all French territory west of the Mississippi River for $15 million.
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to appear on television when he was televised on opening day at the New York World's Fair.
In 1945, the burned body of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was found in a bunker in the ruins of Berlin. Also that day, Soviet troops captured the Reichstag building in Berlin.
In 1948, 21 nations of the Western hemisphere formed the Organization of American States.
In 1967, Muhammad Ali was stripped of his world heavyweight boxing championship title when he refused to be drafted into the military.
In 1970, President Nixon announced he was sending U.S. troops into Cambodia to destroy the "sanctuaries" from which Communist forces from North Vietnam were sending men and material into South Vietnam.
In 1975, South Vietnam unconditionally surrendered to North Vietnam. The communists occupied Saigon and renamed it Ho Chi Minh City.
In 1990, U.S. educator Frank Reed was freed after a 3 1/2 year ordeal as hostage of Moslem extremists in Lebanon, becoming the second abducted American freed in Beirut in just over a week.
In 1991, former Sen. Paul E. Tsongas, D-Mass., became the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for president in 1992.
Also in 1991, political talks between Roman Catholic nationalists and Protestant unionists in Northern Ireland opened. They were the first such discussions in 15 years.
And in 1991, Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui ended 43 years of emergency rule, authorized elections and renounced the use of force to reunify China.
In 1992, a car driven by an elderly man crashed into crowd of schoolchildren on tour at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, killing one child.
In 1995, President Clinton announced the suspension of all U.S. trade with Iran to protest the latter's funding of terrorism.
In 1997, the Senate approved the nomination of Alexis Herman as secretary of labor. She became the only black woman in the Clinton cabinet.
Also in 1997, seven armed men were arrested en-route to Fort Davis, Texas, where a group of separatists were involved in a standoff with authorities.
In 1998, a grand jury indicted Webster Hubbell and his wife on tax evasion charges, Hubbell, a close friend and associate of President Clinton, accused Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr of having him indicted so he would lie about the president.
Also in 1998, the Senate approved the applications of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to join NATO.
In 1999, the National Rifle Association held its convention in Denver, despite the Columbine High School shootings in suburban Littleton, Colo., 10 days earlier. The group did shorten the gathering from three days to one.
In 2002, the U.S. sent 1,000 more troops to eastern Afghanistan along the Pakistan border in an effort to prevent Taliban and al-Qaeda forces from regrouping.
Also in 2002, the Israeli cabinet refused to let a U.N. fact-finding mission investigate alleged Israeli atrocities at the Jenin refugee camp unless a series of stringent conditions could be met.
In 2003, as of April 30, U.S. forces reported a total of 138 deaths in the Iraq conflict. British troops had 32 dead.
Also in 2003, President George W. Bush signed the so-called Amber Alert legislation aimed at setting up a nationwide system to promptly inform the public of child abductions.
And, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said his government would not support the proposed "road map" peace plan until Palestinians stopped anti-Israel violence. But, he said he favored creation of a Palestinian state.
A thought for the day: an anonymous wag said, "Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of."