The Almanac

By United Press International  |  April 9, 2005 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, April 9, the 99th day of 2005 with 266 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include French poet Charles Baudelaire in 1821; comic actor W.C. Fields in 1879; actor/singer Paul Robeson in 1898; birth control pill inventor Gregory Pincus and actor Ward Bond, both in 1903; former Sen. James J. William Fulbright, D-Ark., in 1905; Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner in 1926 (age 79); singer/songwriter Tom Lehrer in 1928 (age 77); rock 'n' roll pioneer Carl Perkins in 1932; actor Jean-Paul Belmondo in 1933 (age 72); comedian Avery Schreiber in 1935; and actors Michael Learned ("The Waltons") in 1939 (age 66), Dennis Quaid in 1954 (age 51) and Keshia Knight Pulliam ("The Cosby Show") in 1979 (age 26).

On this date in history:

In 1816, the first all-black U.S. religious denomination, the AME church, was organized in Philadelphia.

In 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia, bringing the Civil War to a close.

In 1866, Congress passed the Civil Rights Bill of 1866, which granted blacks the rights and privileges of American citizenship and formed the basis for the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In 1939, on Easter Sunday, famed African-American contralto Marian Anderson gave a free open-air concert before more than 75,000 people from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington after the Daughters of the American Revolution denied her use of Constitution Hall because of her race.

In 1940, Germany invaded Norway and Denmark.

In 1947, a monster tornado roared through at least 12 towns in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, killing 169 people. The twister traveled 221 miles across three states.

In 1959, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration introduced America's first astronauts to the public. The seven men, all military test pilots, were carefully selected from a group of 32 candidates to take part in Project Mercury.

In 1963, by an act of Congress, British statesman Winston Churchill became an honorary U.S. citizen.

In 1976, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed on the size of nuclear tests for peaceful use.

In 1979, the government declared the crisis was over at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania.

In 1989, troops clashed with nationalist demonstrators in the capital of the Soviet republic of Georgia.

In 1991, the Soviet republic of Georgia declared its independence.

In 1992, a federal jury in Miami convicted deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega on cocaine trafficking charges.

In 1993, the Rev. Benjamin Chavis Jr. was elected executive director of the NAACP.

In 1996, former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced to 19 months in prison.

Also in 1996, the United States began evacuating Americans from Liberia.

In 1997, a government of unity was launched in Angola, three years after the end of the country's 19-year civil war, with the seating of 70 members of the rebel UNITA party in parliament.

In 1998, tornadoes and storms took 39 lives in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

In 1999, the president of the African nation of Niger was assassinated, reportedly by members of his own guard. Following his death, a military junta led by the commander of the presidential guards took power.

In 2000, Peru's President Alberto Fujimori failed to win a first-round election victory, forcing a run-off in May that he won. However, a vote-fraud scandal forced him to step down later in the year.

In 2002, as the investigation into the Enron Corporation failure moved forward, David Duncan, a former partner with Arthur Andersen, accounting firm for Enron, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.

In 2003, the mood in Iraq became exuberant as Iraqis, with help from Americans, toppled a 20-foot statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad's Firdos Square.

In 2003 sports, Connecticut won the women's national collegiate basketball title with a 73-68 win over Tennessee.

In 2004, in the midst of the bloodiest month of the war, U.S. Marines fought a fierce close-quarters battle with Iraqi rebels one year after a crowd pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

Also in 2004, a U.S. employee of the Halliburton Corp. was kidnapped in Iraq and held for almost a month before he escaped on May 2. Six other Halliburton employees were reported missing.

And, authorities in Bulgaria said at least 40 people were injured, some seriously, in a toxic gas attack on a police station in Sofia.

A thought for the day: Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote, "Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind."

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