The Almanac

By United Press International   |   May 21, 2005 at 3:30 AM

Today is Saturday, May 21, the 141st day of 2005 with 224 to follow.

This is Armed Forces Day.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include German painter Albrecht Durer in 1471; King Philip II of Spain, who launched the Spanish Armada, in 1527; English poet and satirist Alexander Pope in 1688; French painter Henri Rousseau in 1844; industrialist Armand Hammer in 1898; architect Marcel Breuer in 1902; composer and barrelhouse piano player Thomas "Fats" Waller in 1904; author Harold Robbins in 1916; singer Dennis Day and actor Raymond Burr, both in 1917; Soviet physicist-turned-humanitarian Andrei Sakharov in 1921; actress Peggy Cass in 1924; romance novelist Janet Dailey in 1944 (age 61); comedian Al Franken in 1951 (age 54); and actors Mr. T, born Lawrence Tero, in 1952 (age 53) and Judge Reinhold in 1957 (age 47).

On this date in history:

In 1832, the first Democratic national convention was held in Baltimore.

In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh landed the "Spirit of St. Louis" in Paris, completing the first solo flight across the Atlantic.

In 1932, five years to the day after Charles Lindbergh's historic flight, Amelia Earhart became the first pilot to repeat the feat, flying solo across the Atlantic from Newfoundland, Canada, to Ireland. She completed her flight in 13 ½ hours.

In 1941, President Roosevelt proclaimed "an unlimited state of national emergency," seven months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

In 1972, a Hungarian man, Lazlo Tooth, attacked Michelangelo's sculpture "The Pieta" while screaming "I am Jesus Christ!" The statue was badly damaged.

In 1985, after taking fertility drugs, Patti Frustaci of Orange, Calif., gave birth to the first recorded American septuplets. Six of the seven infants were born alive. Three survived.

In 1991, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated while campaigning.

Also in 1991, Ethiopian President Mengistu Haile Mariam resigned and fled for Zimbabwe after 14 years in power.

And in 1991, South Korea's Prime Minister Ro Ja Bong quit after four weeks of student protests demanding his resignation.

In 1992, royal intervention ended four days of the bloodiest urban unrest in Thailand's history.

In 1993, the Venezuelan Senate authorized the country's Supreme Court to try President Carlos Andres Perez on corruption charges. Perez was then suspended from office.

In 1998, two students were killed and 22 others wounded when a classmate opened fire in a high school cafeteria in Eugene, Ore. A 15-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the shootings; police found his parents shot to death at home.

Also in 1998, weeks of demonstrations led to the resignation of autocratic Indonesian President Suharto.

In 2003, a massive 6.8 earthquake struck near Algiers, killing more than 2,200 people and injuring another 10,000.

Also in 2003, a 3-judge panel in Florida threw out a record $145 billion punitive damage award against cigarette manufacturers.

And, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman, who had mixed success in promoting her agenda, resigned as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2004, explorers in the former Soviet republic of Georgia reported finding a rich gold deposit linked to the legend of the Golden Fleece near Supsa on the shore of the Black Sea.

A thought for the day: Arthur Koestler said, "If the Creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out."

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