The Almanac

By United Press International  |  April 4, 2004 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Sunday, April 4, the 95th day of 2004 with 271 to follow. This is Palm Sunday. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Eastern time.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include social reformer Dorothea Dix in 1802; inventor Linus Yale, developer of the cylinder lock, in 1821; dance school founder Arthur Murray in 1895; baseball Hall-of-Famer Tris Speaker in 1888; author/playwright Robert E. Sherwood in 1896; broadcast news commentator John Cameron Swayze in 1906; blues musician Muddy Waters, born McKinley Morganfield, in 1915; author Maya Angelou in 1928 (age 76); actor Anthony Perkins in 1932; baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti in 1938; South African musician Hugh Masekela in 1939 (age 65); author Kitty Kelley in 1942 (age 62); and actors Craig T. Nelson in 1946 (age 58), Christine Lahti in 1950 (age 54) and Robert Downey Jr. in 1965 (age 39).

On this date in history:

In 1818, Congress approved the first flag of the United States.

In 1841, President William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia after serving for one month. He was the ninth U.S. president and the first to die in office. He was succeeded by Vice President John Tyler, first person to occupy the office without being elected to it.

In 1887, Susanna Medora Salter was elected as the first woman mayor in the United States, serving for one year as head of the municipal government of Argonia, Kan.

In 1896, the Yukon gold rush began with the announcement of a strike in the Northwest Territory of Canada.

In 1949, representatives of 12 nations gathered in Washington, D.C., to sign the North Atlantic Treaty, creating the NATO alliance.

In 1968, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis.

In 1969, CBS canceled "The Smothers Brothers." The popular hour-long comedy series had often been at odds with network censors.

In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off on its inaugural mission.

In 1991, Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., and four others were killed when their chartered airplane collided with a helicopter over a schoolyard near Philadelphia.

In 1992, billionaire Sam Moore Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, died of cancer at 74. His retail store chain helped make him one of the world's richest men.

In 1993, President Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin ended their two-day summit in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, with a larger than expected U.S. aid pledge of $1.62 billion.

Also in 1993, ceremonies were held in Atlanta, Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthplace, and in Memphis, the city where he died, to mark the 25th anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination.

In 1995, a Colorado man was convicted of trying to assassinate President Clinton in Oct. 1994.

In 1999, several NATO countries announced they would take in refugees being forced out of Kosovo by Serbian forces.

In 2000, the Nasdaq plunged 574 points (more than 13 percent) but then rose 500 points in one of the wildest days ever on Wall Street.

In 2001, former Philippine President Joseph Estrada, ousted in January during a popular uprising, was indicted on charges he took millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.

In 2002, as Israel stepped up its attacks on Palestinians on the West Bank, President Bush demanded Israelis stop and pull back.

In 2003, coalition forces encircled Baghdad and secured Saddam International Airport in overnight fighting.

Also in 2003, a published report says U.S. Marines were tipped off about Iraq POW Jessica Lynch's location, leading to her dramatic April 1 rescue, by a 32-year-old Iraqi lawyer, distressed at the way he saw her being treated.

A thought for the day: Plato said, "At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet."

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