The almanac

By United Press International   |   May 3, 2012 at 3:30 AM   |   0 comments

This is Thursday, May 3, the 124th day of 2012 with 242 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Italian political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli in 1469; British explorer John Speke, who discovered the source of the Nile, in 1827; journalist Jacob August Riis in 1849; French perfume maker Francois Coty in 1874; Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in 1898; singer/actor Bing Crosby in 1903; actor Mary Astor in 1906; Broadway gossip columnist Earl Wilson in 1907; playwright William Inge in 1913; folk singer Pete Seeger in 1919 (age 93); boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, born Walker Smith Jr., in 1921; singers James Brown in 1933 and Frankie Valli in 1934 (age 78); TV personality Greg Gumbel in 1946 (age 66); magician Doug Henning in 1947; singer/songwriter Christopher Cross in 1951 (age 61); actor Dule Hill in 1975 (age 37).


On this date in history:

In 1802, Washington, D.C., was incorporated.

In 1919, U.S. airplane passenger service began when pilot Robert Hewitt flew two women from New York to Atlantic City, N.J.

In 1937, Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind" won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

In 1946, the International Military Tribunals for the Far East began hearing the case in Tokyo against 28 Japanese military and government officials accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during World War II.

In 1948, the "CBS Evening News" premiered, with Douglas Edwards as anchor.

In 1952, a ski-modified U.S. Air Force C-47 piloted by Lt. Col. Joseph O. Fletcher of Oklahoma and Lt. Col. William P. Benedict of California became the first aircraft to land at the North Pole.

In 1960, "The Fantasticks" opened off-Broadway. It would become the longest-running musical of all time.

In 1968, the United States and North Vietnam agreed to open peace talks in Paris.

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party won the British general election, making her the first woman prime minister of a major European nation.

In 1989, Chinese leaders rejected students' demands for democratic reforms as some 100,000 students and workers marched in Beijing.

Also in 1989, former national security aide Oliver North was found guilty on three charges but innocent of nine others in the Iran-Contra scandal.

In 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush canceled the modernization of NATO short-range nuclear missiles and artillery, accelerating the pace of the removal of U.S. and Soviet ground-based nuclear weapons from "the transformed Europe of the 1990s."

In 1993, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi attacked Muslim fundamentalists, saying they should be killed "like dogs."

In 1994, a U.S. district judge in Seattle struck down Washington state's assisted-suicide law.

In 1999, 76 tornadoes tore across the U.S. Plains states, killing about 50 people and injuring more than 700 more.

In 2003, noted New Hampshire landmark "Old Man of the Mountain" collapsed.

In 2004, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, reprimanded six commissioned and non-commissioned officers who supervised the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, where many reported abuses occurred.

In 2006, an Armenian A-320 aircraft plunged into the Black Sea off Russia's southern coast, killing all 113 people aboard. Officials said bad weather was the probable cause.

In 2007, Queen Elizabeth II opened her U.S. visit by meeting with survivors and relatives of the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting rampage. She also addressed Virginia lawmakers on the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, Va., the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States.

In 2008, envoys of China and the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, met to smooth out their rocky relationship. It was their first session since March pro-independence protests erupted into violence.

In 2009, Jack Kemp, whose long career ranged from pro football quarterback (he led the Buffalo Bills in pre-Super Bowl days to AFL championships in 1964 and 1965) to nine-term U.S. congressman from New York, housing secretary and Republican nominee for vice president in 1996, died of cancer. He was 65.

Also in 2009, businessman Ricardo Martinelli, running as a centrist independent, won the Panama presidential election with 60 percent of the vote.

In 2010, New York City police arrested Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistani-American, in the attempted Times Square bombing after he had boarded a plane scheduled to fly to Dubai. He later pleaded guilty to all charges and drew a life-in-prison sentence.

In 2011, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives won a parliamentary majority as Liberals were unseated for the first time as the official opposition in the country's fourth election in seven years.


A thought for the day: Gore Vidal said, "Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates."

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