Today is Wednesday, April 16, the 106th day of 2014 with 259 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Neptune, Saturn, Uranus and Venus. The evening stars are Jupiter and Mars.
Those born this date are under the sign of Aries. They include French writer Anatole France in 1844; aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright in 1867; movie legend Charlie Chaplin in 1889; British actor Peter Ustinov in 1921; writer Kingsley Amis in 1922; composer/conductor Henry Mancini in 1924; Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 1927 (age 87); actor Edie Adams also in 1927; football Hall of fame member Dick "Night Train" Lane in 1928; jazz flutist Herbie Mann in 1930; singers Bobby Vinton in 1935 (age 79) and Dusty Springfield in 1939; basketball Hall of Fame member Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1947 (age 67); actors Ellen Barkin in 1954 (age 60); Jon Cryer and Martin Lawrence, both in 1965 (age 49) and Peter Billingsley in 1971 (age 43); Tejeno singer Selena (Quintanilla) in 1971; and singer Akon in 1973 (age 41).
On this date in history:
In 1862, the U.S. Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia.
In 1947, a fire aboard the French freighter Grandcamp in the Texas City, Texas, port on Galveston Bay ignited ammonium nitrate and other explosive materials in the ship's hold, causing a massive blast that destroyed much of the city and killed nearly 600 people.
In 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote "Letter from Birmingham Jail" while imprisoned in Alabama for protesting segregation.
In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on an 11-day moon mission with three U.S. astronauts aboard.
In 1990, Dr. Jack Kevorkian helped in his first assisted suicide.
In 1991, the first Jewish settlement under the Israeli government opened in the occupied territories, defying a U.S. request to stop settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In 1999, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky announced his retirement from the NHL after 21 years.
In 2002, Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok and members of his government resigned after a report faulted them, along with the United Nations, for failing to prevent the 1995 massacre of 7,500 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, Bosnia.
In 2007, a Virginia Tech senior, on a sudden campus shooting rampage, killed 27 students and five faculty members before killing himself.
In 2009, President Barack Obama announced plans for a high-speed rail system connecting U.S. cities, with $8 billion in stimulus funds set aside for the effort.
In 2010, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Goldman Sachs of fraud, alleging in a lawsuit the banking giant sold securities that were stacked against the buyer.
In 2011, a vicious rash of U.S. tornadoes tore through 14 states, leaving more than 40 people dead and many others homeless.
In 2012, Anders Breivik, accused of killing 77 people in Norway, gave a right-wing salute and refused to stand at the start of his trial in Oslo. He pleaded innocent and said he had acted in self-defense.
In 2013, a bombing at an election-related rally in Peshawar, Pakistan, killed 17 people and wounded about 60, police said.
A thought for the day: "Each one of us has a fire in our heart for something. It's our goal in life to find it and keep it lit." -- Mary Lou Retton