The Almanac

United Press International

Today is Wednesday, April 21, the 112th day of 2004 with 254 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include German educator Friedrich Froebel, who established the concept of the kindergarten, in 1782; English novelist Charlotte Bronte in 1816; James Starley, English inventor of the geared bicycle, in 1830; naturalist and author John Muir in 1838; German sociologist Max Weber in 1864; actor Anthony Quinn in 1915; Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 1926 (age 78); comedian, actress and director Elaine May in 1932 (age 72); actor/director Charles Grodin in 1935 (age 69); rock singer Iggy Pop in 1947 (age 57); actress/singer Patti LuPone in 1949 (age 55); actor Tony Danza in 1951 (age 53); and actress Andie MacDowell in 1958 (age 46).

On this date in history:

In 1836, with the battle cry, "Remember the Alamo!" Texan forces under Sam Houston defeated the army of Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna at San Jacinto, Texas.

In 1918, the notorious German World War I flying ace, Manfred von Richthofen, known as "The Red Baron," was killed by Allied fire over Vauz sur Somme, France.

In 1954, U.S. Air Force planes began flying French troops to Indochina to reinforce Dien Bien Phu. The city later fell to communist Viet Minh forces.

In 1967, a Greek army coup in Athens sent King Constantine into exile in Italy.

In 1975, Nguyen Van Thieu resigned as president of South Vietnam after denouncing the United States as untrustworthy. His replacement, Tran Van Huong, prepared for peace talks with North Vietnam as communist forces advanced on Saigon.

In 1987, the bombing of a bus terminal in Colombo, Sri Lanka, killed 127 people and wounded 288.

In 1992, killer Robert Alton Harris became the first person executed in California's gas chamber in 25 years.

Also in 1992, gas explosions ripped through the historic center of Guadalajara, Mexico, killing more than 200 people and injuring hundreds more.

In 1993, Mexican actor Mario "Cantinflas" Moreno, best known in the U.S. for his role in the 1956 film "Around the World in 80 Days," died at age 81.

Also in 1993, the 11-day siege at a prison near Lucasville, Ohio, ended. 10 people died.

In 1995, Timothy McVeigh, 27, arrested 90 minutes after the Oklahoma City explosion because he'd been driving without license plates, was charged in the bombing. Two brothers -- Terry and James McNichols -- also were taken into federal custody in connection with the bombing. Terry McNichols eventually was charged.

In 1996, the Olive Tree coalition, including many former communists, won more than a third of all the seats in the lower house of the Italian parliament.

In 1997, Inder Gujral was sworn in as India's new prime minister.

In 2003, Iraq's interim leader, retired American Gen. Jay Garner, arrived in Baghdad amid international debate over how long U.S.-led forces should remain in Iraq.

Also in 2003, China announced an additional four deaths and 109 cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome, indicating SARS was continuing to spread in the country where 86 deaths and close to 2,000 cases already had been reported.

A thought for the day: it was Marshall McLuhan who said, "There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew."

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