The Almanac

By United Press International  |  May 8, 2003 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, May 8, the 128th day of 2003 with 237 to follow.

The moon is waxing.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Jean Henri Dunant, Swiss founder of the Red Cross Society and a co-founder of the Young Men's Christian Association, in 1828; Harry S Truman, 33rd president of the United States, in 1884; cornetist and bandleader Red Nichols in 1905; pianist Mary Lou Williams in 1910; blues guitarist Robert Johnson in 1911; author David Attenborough and comedian Don Rickles, both in 1926 (age 77); boxer Sonny Liston in 1932; actor/singer Rick Nelson in 1940; author Peter Benchley, also in 1940 (age 63); singer Toni Tennille in 1943 (age 60); actors David Keith in 1954 (age 49) and Melissa Gilbert in 1964 (age 39); and singer Enrique Iglesias in 1975 (age 28).

On this date in history:

In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto discovered the Mississippi River.

In 1879, George Selden of Rochester, N.Y., filed for the first patent for an automobile. It was granted in 1895.

In 1945, President Truman officially declared V-E Day, the end of World War II in Europe.

In 1970, the Beatles' final original album -- "Let It Be" -- was released.

In 1972, President Nixon ordered the mining of North Vietnam ports in an effort to force the communists to end the Vietnam War.

In 1984, the Soviet Union declared it would not take part in the Los Angeles Olympics, citing fears over security for its athletes.

In 1991, to pressure the government of El Salvador into agreeing to a cease-fire, Salvadoran leftist guerillas sabotaged a power system, leaving the country with half its normal electrical supply.

In 1992, the shuttle Endeavour blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on its first-ever flight.

In 1996, South Africa voted for a new constitution. Its bill of rights included the right to food, housing and education.

In 1998, the tobacco industry reached a settlement with Minnesota and with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The deal came as the first trial of a state lawsuit against cigarette makers was about to go to the jury.

In 2002, following up on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and whether they could have been anticipated, FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate committee that the FBI had paid insufficient heed to a July memo from an agent in Phoenix. The agent had warned about Arab men with possible terrorist ties taking flying lessons.

Also in 2002, Cardinal Bernard Law of the Boston Roman Catholic archdiocese said he had known in 1984 about sexual abuse charges against a former priest but had turned the matter over to aides and never followed up. The former priest, John Geoghan, was accused in 86 sexual abuse cases.

A thought for the day: Oscar Wilde wrote, "All that I desire to point out is the general principle that life imitates art far more than art imitates life."

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