The Almanac

By United Press International  |  April 1, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, April 1, the 91st day of 2006 with 274 to follow.

This is April Fools' Day.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include German military theorist Prince Otto von Bismarck in 1815; Italian pianist and composer Ferruccio Busoni in 1866; Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1873; actors Lon Chaney Sr. in 1883 and Wallace Beery in 1886; actor Toshiro Mifune in 1920 (age 86); author William Manchester ("Death of a President") in 1922 (age 84); actresses/singers Jane Powell in 1928 (age 78) and Debbie Reynolds in 1932 (age 74); and actresses Ali McGraw in 1938 (age 68) and Annette O'Toole in 1953 (age 53).

On this date in history:

In 1918, toward the end of World War I, the Royal Air Force was founded. Two months later, Britain began bombing industrial targets in Germany from bases in France.

In 1924, Adolf Hitler was sent to prison for five years after failing in his first effort to take over Germany by force, the unsuccessful "Beer Hall Putsch" in the German state of Bavaria.

In 1945, U.S. forces swarmed ashore on the Japanese island of Okinawa, to begin what would be one of the longest and bloodiest battles of World War II.

In 1979, Iran declared itself an Islamic Republic.

In 1982, the United States formally transferred control of the Panama Canal Zone to the government of Panama.

In 1986, world oil prices dipped below $10 a barrel.

In 1991, Moscow food stores closed to curb panic buying in anticipation of government price increases.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush announced a $24-billion aid package to the former Soviet republics.

In 1993, the FCC ordered the nation's cable television industry to cut its basic monthly rates by about 10 percent.

In 1996, an outbreak of "mad cow" disease forced Britain to plan the mass slaughter of cows.

In 1997, in the first of two reports, the Justice Department concluded the FBI had erred seriously in its investigation into the July 1996 bombing at Olympic Park in Atlanta.

In 1998, a federal judge dismissed the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones against President Bill Clinton.

In 1999, Canada created a new territory, Nunavut, as a means of providing autonomy for the Inuit people.

In 2000, the mediator in the Microsoft antitrust case said the software giant and the government had abandoned talks to settle the case.

In 2001, a U.S. Navy spy plane collided with a Chinese jetfighter off the coast of China. The Chinese plane crashed into the ocean; the damaged U.S. plane landed on the Chinese island of Hainan, where its 24 crewmembers were held for 11 days.

In 2002, the United States and Pakistan announced the capture of a top al-Qaida leader, a major break in their war on terrorism.

In 2003, U.S. Marines rescued Pfc. Jessica Lynch, 19, who had been held prisoner in Iraq since an ambush on March 23.

Also in 2003, officials listed 46 U.S. military personnel dead in Iraq, seven captured and 16 missing. The British reported 27 dead.

In 2004, four U.S. civilian contractors were killed and mutilated by Iraqi insurgents after their vehicles were stopped in Falluja.

Also in 2004, suspected Ohio highway sniper Chares McCoy was indicted by a grand jury on 24 counts, including aggravated murder.

And, a poll says most Americans agree with former White House counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke's criticism of President George W. Bush on terrorism but politics was widely seen as the motivating force behind the criticism.

In 2005, Samuel Berger, national security adviser to President Bill Clinton, pleaded guilty to destroying classified documents he admitted removing from the National Archives.

Also in 2005, all nine people aboard an Australian navy helicopter on a relief mission to earthquake-struck Indonesia died when the chopper crashed.

A thought for the day: Marcel Marceau said, "It's good to shut up sometimes."

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