The Almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Wednesday, May 12, the 133rd day of 2004 with 233 to follow.

The moon is waning. 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 English painter and writer of limericks and nonsense poems Edward Lear in 1812; nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale in 1820; French composer Jules Emile Massenet in 1842; lawmaker and author Henry Cabot Lodge in 1850; novelist Philip Wylie in 1902; actress Katharine Hepburn in 1907; orchestra leader Gordon Jenkins and jazz trombonist Jack Jenney in 1910; newscaster Howard K. Smith in 1914; convicted spy Julius Rosenberg in 1918; baseball Hall of Fame member Yogi Berra in 1925 (age 79); composer Burt Bacharach in 1929 (age 75); TV personality Tom Snyder and artist Frank Stella, both in 1936 (age 68); comedian George Carlin in 1938 (age 66); and actors Gabriel Byrne in 1950 (age 54), Bruce Boxleitner ("Babylon 5") in 1951 (age 53), Ving Rhames in 1961 (age 43), Emilio Estevez in 1962 (age 42), Stephen Baldwin in 1966 (age 38), Kim Fields in 1969 (age 35); MacKenzie Austin in 1973 (age 31) and Jason Biggs in 1978 (age 26).


On this date in history:

In 1922, the magazine "Radio Broadcast" commented, "The rate of increase in the number who spend at least part of an evening listening to radio is almost incomprehensible."

In 1937, George VI was crowned king of England, succeeding his brother Edward, who abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

In 1949, Soviet authorities announced the end of a land blockade of Berlin. The blockade lasted 328 days but was neutralized by the Allies' Berlin airlift.

In 1970, the Senate confirmed President Nixon's nomination of Federal Circuit Judge Harry A. Blackmun to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1975, a Cambodian gunboat fired on the U.S. cargo ship Mayaguez and forced it into a Cambodian port. All 39 crewmen aboard were freed but a number of U.S. servicemen died during a rescue mission two days later.

In 1991, Operation Sea Angel sent 8,000 U.S. troops to Bangladesh to distribute relief packages to cyclone victims.

In 1992, CIA Director Robert Gates said he had begun declassifying all relevant information on the President Kennedy assassination to end the "insidious, perverse notion" that the CIA was involved.

In 1994, John Smith, 55, leader of Britain's opposition Labor Party, died of a heart attack.


In 1999, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin announced he was resigning. Rubin's policies were credited for contributing to the roaring U.S economy.

In 2002, Former President Jimmy Carter began a historic visit to Cuba. He was the first president, in or out of office, to visit the island since communists took over in 1959.

In 2003, U.S. officials in Iraq reported the capture of Rihab Rashjid Taha, nicknamed Dr. Germ, who played a major role in Iraq's biological weapons program.

Also in 2003, at least 59 died and six apartment houses were destroyed when a truck laden with explosives blew up in a town in Chechnya where a revolt against Russia continued.

A thought for the day: Mark Twain remarked, "I never let schooling interfere with my education."

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