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The almanac

By United Press International   |   May 20, 2012 at 3:30 AM   |   Comments

Today is Sunday, May 20, the 141st day of 2012 with 225 to follow.

The moon is new. Morning stars are Jupiter, Neptune, Mercury and Uranus. Evening stars are Saturn, Mars and Venus.


Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include William Thornton, architect of the Capitol building in Washington, in 1759; Dolley Madison, wife of the fourth U.S. president James Madison, in 1768; Canadian explorer Simon Fraser in 1776; French novelist Honore de Balzac in 1799; English philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill in 1806; German Emile Berliner, inventor of the flat phonograph record, in 1851; actor James Stewart in 1908; Israeli military commander and politician Moshe Dayan in 1915; comedian George Gobel in 1919; actor Anthony Zerbe in 1936 (age 76); hockey Hall of Fame member Stan Mikita and Japanese baseball home run king Sadaharu Oh, both in 1940 (age 72); British singer/songwriter Joe Cocker in 1944 (age 68); singer/actor Cher, born Cherilyn Sarkisian, in 1946 (age 66); Ronald Prescott Reagan, son of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, in 1958 (age 54); and actors Dave Thomas in 1949 (age 63), Bronson Pinchot in 1959 (age 53) and Timothy Olyphant in 1968 (age 44); race car driver Tony Stewart in 1971 (age 41); rapper Busta Rhymes in 1972 (age 40); and singer/actor Naturi Naughton in 1984 (age 28).


On this date in history:

In 526, an estimated 300,000 people died because of an earthquake in Syria and Antiochia.

In 1506, Christopher Columbus died in Spain.

In 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis were granted a patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from New York in his single-engine monoplane, "The Spirit of St. Louis," bound for Paris. He landed 33 1/2 hours later, completing the first solo, non-stop trans-Atlantic flight.

In 1974, Judge John Sirica ordered U.S. President Richard Nixon to turn over tapes and other records of 64 White House conversations on the Watergate affair.

In 1989, Chinese Premier Li Peng declared martial law in Beijing in response to heightened student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.

In 1999, a high school student in Georgia opened fire on his classmates, wounding six of them before surrendering to school authorities.

The same day, U.S. President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton met in Littleton, Colo., with students, teachers and families of the victims of the previous month's deadly shootings at Columbine High School.

In 2002, East Timor, a small Pacific Coast nation, gained independence from Indonesia. It is called Timor Leste.

In 2006, in an unprecedented move, the FBI searched the Capitol Hill office of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., in an ongoing bribery investigation.

In 2006 sports, Barbaro, the unbeaten Kentucky Derby winner, entered the Preakness a heavy favorite but pulled up shortly after it began when he fractured his left hind leg. It ended his racing career and eventually, led to his death. The race was won by Bernardini, owned by the Dubai royal family.

In 2008, U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., 76, a champion of liberal causes in the Senate for more than four decades, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

In 2009, Congress passed with strong bipartisan approval three consumer protection bills designed to crack down on financial fraud, help stave off home foreclosures and restrict credit card issuers in raising interest rates and imposing fees on cardholders.

In 2010, paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Modigliana and others, worth an estimated $124 million, were reported missing from the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Paris.

Also in 2010, researchers announced the creation of a "synthetic" genetic cell that could replicate itself.

In 2011, an Israeli military attache assigned to Moscow was expelled because he was, his accusers said, "caught red-handed" gathering information. Israeli officials said allegations of espionage were unfounded.


A thought for the day: Friedrich Nietzsche said, "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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