The Almanac

United Press International

Today is Sunday, May 15, the 135th day of 2005 with 230 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include author L. Frank Baum ("The Wizard of Oz") in 1856; French chemist Pierre Curie in 1859; author Katherine Ann Porter in 1890; Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1902; actors Joseph Cotten in 1905 and James Mason in 1909; country singer Eddy Arnold in 1918 (age 87); actress Anna Maria Alberghetti in 1936 (age 69); former U.S. Secretary of2State Madeleine Albright in 1937 (age 68); singers Trini Lopez in 1937 (age 68) and Lainie Kazan in 1942 (age 63); filmmaker David Cronenburg in 1943 (age 62); and actors Chazz Palminteri in 1951 (age 54) and Lee Horsley ("Matt Houston") in 1955 (age 50).

On this date in history:

In 1918, the first regular air mail service was established between Washington, D.C., and New York City.


In 1930, Ellen Church became the first airline stewardess, flying on a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Cheyenne, Wyo.

In 1940, nylon stockings went on sale in U.S. stores for the first time.

In 1941, the jet-propelled Gloster-Whittle E 28/39 aircraft flew successfully over Cranwell, England, in the first test of an Allied aircraft using jet propulsion.

In 1962, Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper was launched into space atop an Atlas rocket and completed 22 orbits.

In 1969, Justice Abe Fortas, under fire for a money deal with jailed financier Louis Wolfson, resigned from the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1972, Alabama Gov. George Wallace was shot and crippled at a presidential campaign rally in Laurel, Md.

In 1988, Soviet forces began their withdrawal from Afghanistan in compliance with the Geneva accords.

In 1990, at an auction, Japanese millionaire Ryoei Saito bid a record $82.5 million for Van Gogh's 1890 "Portrait of Dr. Gachet." Two days later, he spent $78.1 million for Renoir's 1876 "Au Moulin De La Galette," also a record.

In 1991, Edith Cresson, a Socialist and former trade minister, became the first woman prime minister of France.

In 1992, the United States warned Saddam Hussein that allied military forces may "respond" if his troops attempted to repress Kurdish elections in northern Iraq.


In 1993, Bosnian Serbs voted in the first of two days of balloting on whether the Bosnian Serb parliament should accept a U.N peace plan for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In 1996, Bob Dole announced he was resigning from the Senate to concentrate full-time on his presidential campaign.

In 2000, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a federal law allowing victims of rape, domestic violence, etc., to sue their attackers in federal court.

In 2002, the White House said that President George W. Bush had received a CIA briefing in August, 2001, the month before the terrorist attack on New York City and Washington, warning that Osama bin Laden planned to hijack airplanes but nothing was said about possibly crashing them into buildings.

In 2003, authorities arrested several people who allegedly had planned attacks on the U.S. Embassy and other targets in Lebanon.

Also in 2003, New York scientists uncovered a natural cancer-fighting mechanism that could help make tumors more vulnerable to radiation therapy.

In 2004, the State Department warned that tensions in Iraq had increased the potential threat to U.S. citizens and interests abroad.

In 2004 sports, unbeaten Smarty Jones, the Kentucky Derby winner, captured the Preakness, the second "jewel" in racing's Triple Crown, by a record margin of 11 ½ lengths.


A thought for the day: Samuel Butler said, "The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too."

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