Today is Wednesday, April 22, the 112th day of 2009 with 253 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Spanish Queen Isabella I, who funded the first voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World, in 1451; English novelist Henry Fielding in 1707; German philosopher Immanuel Kant in 1724; Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, leader of Russia's 1917 Communist revolution, in 1870; pioneer nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer in 1904; actor Eddie Albert in 1906; violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin in 1916; jazz bass player Charles Mingus in 1922; actress Charlotte Rae in 1926 (age 83); TV producer Aaron Spelling in 1923; singer Glen Campbell in 1936 (age 73); actor Jack Nicholson in 1937 (age 72); filmmaker John Waters in 1946 (age 63); rock guitarist and singer Peter Frampton in 1950 (age 59); actor Ryan Stiles in 1959 (age 50); comedian/TV host Byron Allen in 1961 (age 48); and actor Chris Makepeace in 1964 (age 45).
On this date in history:
In 1500, Brazil was discovered by Pedro Alvarez Cabral.
In 1509, Henry VIII became king of England.
In 1889, some 20,000 homesteaders massed along the border of the Oklahoma Territory, awaiting the signal to start the Oklahoma land rush.
In 1914, Babe Ruth made his professional baseball debut as a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles.
In 1915, during World War I, German forces became the first to use poison gas on the Western Front.
In 1972, Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke walked and rode on the surface of the moon for 7 hours, 23 minutes.
In 1985, Jose Sarney was sworn in as Brazil's first civilian president in 21 years.
In 1990, Muslim extremists in Lebanon freed a U.S. hostage for the first time in more than three years, releasing college professor Robert Polhill after 39 months in captivity.
In 1991, at least 70 people were killed and 500 more injured when an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale struck Costa Rica.
In 1994, Richard Nixon, the 37th U.S. president and the only U.S. president to resign his office, died four days after suffering a stroke. He was 81.
In 1997, a 126-day standoff at the Japanese Embassy in Lima ended when Peruvian commandos stormed the building and freed 72 hostages held by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. All 14 rebels were killed.
In 2000, in a predawn raid, armed U.S. immigration agents broke into the Miami house where Elian Gonzalez had been staying and took charge of the 6-year-old Cuban refugee, flying him to Washington to be reunited with his Cuban father.
In 2003, hundreds of thousands of Shiites journeyed to Karbala for annual religious observances banned under Saddam Hussein and many called on Americans to go home.
In 2004, former NFL star Pat Tillman, who turned down a lucrative contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the U.S. Army Rangers, was killed in Afghanistan. The U.S. military said later he was a victim of friendly fire.
In 2005, Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man charged in the United States in connection with the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
In 2006, Iraq's parliament ratified the selection of Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister, ending a four-month political deadlock.
In 2007, gunmen in the Iraqi city of Mosul killed 23 followers of Yazidi, a religious minority, after they were pulled from their bus. Individuals of other faiths were unharmed.
In 2008, Hillary Clinton scored a decisive victory over Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary but Obama still owned the delegate lead.
A thought for the day: Confucius said: "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."