The Almanac

By United Press International  |  April 11, 2006 at 3:40 AM
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Today is Monday, April 17, the 107th day of 2006 with 258 to follow.

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 American industrialist and financier J.P. Morgan in 1837; Danish author Baroness Karen Blixen ("Out of Africa"), who wrote under the name Isak Dinesen, in 1885; Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1894; novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder in 1897; actor William Holden in 1918; television journalist Harry Reasoner in 1923; music promoter Don Kirshner in 1934 (age 72); and actress Olivia Hussey in 1951 (age 55).

On this date in history:

In 1421, the sea broke the dikes at Dort, Holland, drowning an estimated 100,000 people.

In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church after refusing to admit to charges of heresy.

In 1524, Italian navigator Giovanni Verrazano discovered New York Harbor.

In 1790, American statesman, printer, scientist and writer Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia at age 84.

In 1961, a force of anti-Castro Cuban rebels began what was to end as the ill-fated "Bay of Pigs" attempt to overthrow Cuba's new communist government.

In 1964, Jerrie Mock of Columbus, Ohio, became the first woman to complete a solo flight around the world.

In 1970, with the world anxiously watching via television, Apollo 13, a U.S. lunar spacecraft that suffered a severe malfunction on its journey to the moon, safely returned to Earth.

In 1989, the Polish labor union Solidarity was granted legal status after nearly a decade of struggle and suppression, clearing the way for the downfall of Poland's Communist Party.

In 1991, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 3,000 for the first time, at 3,004.46. Experts hailed it as forecasting an end to the recession.

In 1993, a federal court jury convicted two Los Angeles police officers of violating Rodney King's civil rights in the black motorist's 1991 arrest and beating. Two other officers were acquitted.

In 1997, House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced that former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., would lend him the money to pay his fines after the Georgia Republican admitted to using tax-exempt donations for political activities.

In 2000, with an eye toward China, the Clinton administration decided not to sell Taiwan all the weapons it had requested.

In 2001, Mississippi voters, by a 2-1 margin, decided to keep their state flag, which includes the Confederate battle cross in the upper left-hand corner.

In 2003, billionaire philanthropist John Paul Getty Jr. died at a London hospital. Getty, who was being treated for a chest infection, was 70.

Also in 2003, U.S. Special Forces captured Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a former intelligence chief.

And, EU leaders called on the United Nations to be given a "central role" in the post-war rebuilding of Iraq.

In 2004, the General Accounting Office, looking into the oil-for-food program, administered by the U.N. for Iraq, estimated the Saddam Hussein regime collected more than $11 billion in kickbacks and illegal sales.

Also in 2004, the Israeli army confirmed it had killed the new Hamas leader, Abdel Aziz Rantissi, who had headed the militant group less than a month after his predecessor also was assassinated.

In 2005, 115 Roman Catholic cardinals gathered in the Vatican to begin the secret selection of a new pope.

A thought for the day: Rudyard Kipling wrote, "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."

Today is Tuesday, April 18, the 108th day of 2006 with 257 to follow.

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 Italian duchess Lucrezia Borgia in 1480; lawyer Clarence Darrow in 1857; symphony conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1882; actors Barbara Hale in 1922 (age 84), Hayley Mills in 1946 (age 60), James Woods in 1947 (age 59), Rick Moranis in 1954 (age 52), Eric Roberts in 1956 (age 50) and Jane Leeves ("Frasier") in 1961 (age 45); late night talk show host Conan O'Brien and actor Eric McCormack ("Will & Grace"), both in 1963 (age 43); and actress Melissa Joan Hart in 1976 (age 30).

On this date in history:

In 1775, American patriot Paul Revere began his famed ride through the Massachusetts countryside, crying out "The British are coming!" to rally the Minutemen.

In 1906, an earthquake struck San Francisco, collapsing buildings and igniting fires that destroyed much of what remained of the city. By the time it was over three days later, almost 500 people were dead and more than a quarter of a million were homeless.

In 1923, Yankee Stadium opened in New York.

In 1942, U.S. planes bombed the Japanese mainland for the first time during World War II.

In 1945, journalist Ernie Pyle, America's most popular World War II correspondent, was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on the island of Ie Shima in the Pacific.

In 1949, the Republic of Ireland formally declared itself independent from Britain.

In 1980, Rhodesia became the independent African nation of Zimbabwe.

In 1983, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, was severely damaged by a car-bomb explosion that killed 63 people, including the suicide bomber and 17 Americans. The terrorist attack was carried out in protest of the U.S. military presence in Lebanon.

In 1987, Democrat Annette Strauss was elected the first woman mayor of Dallas.

In 1992, an 11-year-old Florida boy sued to "divorce" his natural parents and remain with his foster parents. The boy eventually won his suit.

In 1993, the U.N. Security Council voted to toughen sanctions against Serbia because of its support for Bosnian Serbs trying to carve an ethnically pure state out of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In 1996, gunmen killed 18 people and wounded 15 more in an attack on tourists at the Egyptian pyramids.

In 2000, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights embarrassed the Clinton administration by refusing to criticize China's record on human rights.

In 2002, former Sen. Bob Kerrey, D.-Neb., revealed that at least 13 civilians were killed by his U.S. Navy unit in a Vietnamese village in 1969.

Also in 2002, actor Robert Blake was arrested in the slaying of his wife in Los Angeles. After a 2005 trial, he was acquitted.

In 2003, Abu Dhabi TV aired videotape showing a man who appeared to be Saddam Hussein greeting a crowd of supporters as coalition forces entered Baghdad.

Also in 2003, The FDA issued new guidelines in which people potentially infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, to be deferred in donating blood.

In 2004, in one of his first acts as Spain's new prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero issued orders withdrawing all 1,300 Spanish troops from Iraq.

In 2005, the leaders of archrivals India and Pakistan issued a joint statement saying peace between the two nuclear powers was "irreversible."

A thought for the day: Edward W. Howe said, "If you don't learn to laugh at troubles, you won't have anything to laugh at when you grow old."

Today is Wednesday, April 19, the 109th day of 2006 with 256 to follow.

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 statesman Roger Sherman, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, in 1721; music patron Augustus Juilliard in 1836; FBI agent Eliot Ness in 1903; actress Jayne Mansfield in 1933; actors Don Adams in 1926; Hugh O'Brian in 1930 (age 76), Dudley Moore in 1935, Elinor Donahue in 1937 (age 69) and Tim Curry in 1946 (age 60); auto racer Al Unser Jr. in 1962 (age 44); and actress Ashley Judd in 1968 (age 38).

On this date in history:

In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began at the Battle of Lexington, Mass. Eight Minutemen were killed and 10 wounded in an exchange of musket fire with British Redcoats.

In 1861, one week after the Civil War began, the first Americans died, the result of a clash between a secessionist mob in Baltimore and Massachusetts troops bound for Washington. Four soldiers and 12 rioters were killed.

In 1943, Jewish residents of the Warsaw Ghetto revolted when the Germans tried to resume deportations to the Treblinka concentration camp. When the uprising ended on May 16, 300 Germans and 7,000 Jews had died and the ghetto lay in ruins.

In 1971, the Soviet Union launched its first Salyut space station.

In 1972, the U.S. Apollo 16 spacecraft began orbiting the moon two days before astronauts landed on its surface.

In 1989, an explosion in a gun turret aboard the battleship USS Iowa killed 47 sailors.

Also in 1989, pro-democracy demonstrations began in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

In 1990, the U.S.-backed Contra rebels and the outgoing Nicaraguan government agreed to an immediate cease-fire and a formula to disarm and demobilize the Contras by June 10.

In 1992, a series of watercolors depicting members of the British royal family nude caused a stir with London's Fleet Street newspapers. The queen was not amused.

In 1993, the 51-day Branch Davidian standoff near Waco, Texas, ended tragically when a fire destroyed the fortified compound after authorities tear-gassed the place. Cult leader David Koresh and 85 followers, including 17 children, were killed.

Also in 1993, the governor of South Dakota and seven other people were killed in a plane crash in Iowa.

In 1994, a federal jury awarded police beating victim Rodney King $3.8 million dollars in compensatory damages from the city of Los Angeles.

In 1995, 168 people were killed and more than 400 injured when a bomb exploded outside a federal office building in Oklahoma City.

In 1997, the rising Red River drove tens of thousands of people from their homes in North Dakota and Minnesota.

In 1998, China freed Wang Dan, one of the leaders of the 1989 pro-democracy movement that had been brutally suppressed in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

In 2000, a federal appeals court ruled that 6-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez may stay in the United States until the court heard the full appeal from his relatives, who sought to retain custody of the boy. Eventually, he was returned to Cuba.

In 2003, Scott Peterson, a Modesto, Calif., fertilizer salesman, was arrested in the suspected murders of his pregnant wife Laci and unborn child.

Also in 2003, Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, reelected Olusegun Obasanjo as its president.

In 2004, President George W. Bush named U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte to be ambassador to Iraq.

Also in 2004, President George W. Bush was reported to have committed $660 million to train international peacekeeping forces outside U.N. control, with an eye primarily on African countries.

In 2005, conservative German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, already a major power in the Roman Catholic Church, was elected pope to succeed the John Paul II. He chose the name of Benedict XVI.

A thought for the day: there's an anonymous saying, "Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell."

Today is Thursday, April 20, the 110th day of 2006 with 255 to follow.

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 Taurus. They include French Emperor Napoleon III in 1808; sculptor Daniel Chester French, creator of "The Minute Man" statue, in 1850; Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler in 1889; silent film comedian Harold Lloyd and Spanish surrealist painter Joan Miro, both in 1893; U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in 1920 (age 86); actress Nina Foch in 1924 (age 82); actor Ryan O'Neal in 1941 (age 65); actress Jessica Lange in 1949 (age 57); singer Luther Vandross in 1951 (age 55); and actors Carmen Electra in 1973 (age 33) and Joey Lawrence in 1976 (age 30).

On this date in history:

In 735 B.C., according to the Roman historian Varro, Romulus founded the city of Rome.

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell -- Puritan, revolutionary and Lord Protector of England -- dissolved Parliament to rule by decree.

In 1871, Congress passed the Third Force Act, popularly known as the Ku Klux Act, authorizing President Ulysses S. Grant to declare martial law, impose heavy penalties against terrorist organizations and use military force to suppress the Klan.

In 1902, Marie and Pierre Curie successfully isolated radioactive radium salts from the mineral pitchblende in their laboratory in Paris.

In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal courts could order low-cost housing for minorities in a city's white suburbs to ease racial segregation.

In 1987, Karl Linnas, sentenced to death by the Soviets in 1962 for running a World War II concentration camp, became the first Nazi war criminal returned by the United States to the Soviet Union against his will.

In 1990, Pete Rose, already banished from baseball for gambling, pleaded guilty to two felony counts alleging he concealed nearly $300,000 in income from the Internal Revenue Service.

In 1991, U.S. Marines crossed into northern Iraq to set up camps for Kurds seeking refuge from Iraqi civil strife.

Also in 1991, the United States announced plans to open a temporary office in Hanoi to investigate the unresolved cases of 2,278 U.S. military personnel listed as MIAs and POWs.

In 1992, Madonna signed a multi-million-dollar deal with Time Warner to form an entertainment company that would make her the highest paid female pop star in the world.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton ordered an investigation into the federal raid on the Branch Davidian cult compound.

In 1996, the U.S. Marines arrived in war-torn Liberia.

In 1998, a federal jury in Chicago awarded more than $85,000 in damages to two women's health clinics that had accused abortion opponents of threats and extortion in an effort to shut them down.

In 1999, two teenage boys killed 12 fellow students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., before turning their guns on themselves. It was by far the worst in a series of school shootings.

In 2001, the opening session of the Summit of the Americas was delayed as protesters massed in the streets of Quebec City, Canada. They were demonstrating against a proposed hemisphere-wide free trade area.

Also in 2001, a U.S. missionary and her infant daughter were killed when their plane was fired on by the crew of a Peruvian jetfighter that thought the aircraft was carrying illegal drugs.

In 2002, Pope John Paul II, speaking on the sex scandal that had rocked the Roman Catholic clergy, said bishops must "diligently investigate accusations" against priests who broke their vows of celibacy.

In 2003, the Chinese government admitted it had substantially understated its total of SARS cases.

In 2004, some 21 Iraqi detainees were killed at Abu Ghraib prison, largest facility used by U.S. troops to detain Iraqis, by mortar rounds apparently fired by anti-coalition insurgents. Many others were hurt.

In 2005, more than 50 bodies, believed to be those of hostages, were found in Iraq's Tigris River, and another 20 soldiers shot to death were found near Baghdad.

Also in 2005, the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague was interrupted by the former leader's "dangerously high" blood pressure.

A thought for the day: Richard L. Evans said, "Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was."

Today is Friday, April 21, the 111th day of 2006 with 254 to follow.

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 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 80); comedian, actress and director Elaine May in 1932 (age 74); actor/director Charles Grodin in 1935 (age 71); rock singer Iggy Pop in 1947 (age 59); actress/singer Patti LuPone in 1949 (age 57); actor Tony Danza in 1951 (age 55); and actress Andie MacDowell in 1958 (age 48).

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, opening the door to Texas independence.

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.

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.

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 U.S. 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.

In 2004, a series of coordinated car bombings at police buildings in Basra, Iraq, killed more than 50 people, including about 20 school children.

In 2005, the U.S. Senate approved the nomination of John Negroponte to be the nation's first national intelligence director.

Also in 2005, insurgents shot down a civilian helicopter north of Baghdad, killing all 11 aboard including six U.S. contractors.

And, Brazil granted asylum to former Ecuadorian President Lucio Gutierrez after he was ousted from office.

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

Today is Saturday, April 22, the 112th day of 2006 with 253 to follow.

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 Taurus. They include Spanish Queen Isabella I, who funded the first voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World, in 1451; English novelist Henry Fielding in 1707; German philosopher Immanuel Kant in 1724; Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, leader of Russia's 1917 Communist revolution, in 1870; pioneer nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer in 1904; actor Eddie Albert in 1908; violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin in 1916; jazz bass player Charles Mingus in 1922; actress Charlotte Rae in 1926 (age 80); TV producer Aaron Spelling in 1928 (age 78); singer Glen Campbell and actor Jack Nicholson, both in 1936 (age 70); filmmaker John Waters in 1946 (age 60); pop singer Peter Frampton in 1950 (age 56); actor Ryan Stiles in 1959 (age 47); comedian/TV host Byron Allen in 1961 (age 45); and actor Chris Makepeace in 1964 (age 42).

On this date in history:

In 1500, Brazil was discovered by Pedro Alvarez Cabral.

In 1509, Henry VIII became king of England.

In 1889, some 20,000 homesteaders massed along the border of the Oklahoma Territory, awaiting the signal to start the Oklahoma land rush.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his professional pitching debut, playing for the Baltimore Orioles.

In 1915, during World War I, German forces became the first to use poison gas on the Western Front.

In 1972, Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke walked and rode on the surface of the moon for 7 hours, 23 minutes.

In 1985, Jose Sarney was sworn in as Brazil's first civilian president in 21 years.

In 1987, a divided U.S. Supreme Court said capital punishment does not discriminate against blacks.

In 1990, Muslim extremists in Lebanon freed a U.S. hostage for first time in more than three years, releasing college professor Robert Polhill after 39 months in captivity.

In 1991, at least 70 people were killed and 500 more injured when an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale struck Costa Rica.

In 1993, Gov. Guy Hunt, Alabama's first Republican governor since the Reconstruction, was removed from office after being convicted of felony ethics violations.

In 1994, Richard Nixon, the 37th U.S. president and the only U.S. president to resign his office, died four days after suffering a stroke. He was 81.

In 1997, a 126-day standoff at the Japanese Embassy in Lima ended when Peruvian commandos stormed the building and freed 72 hostages held by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. All 14 rebels were killed.

In 2000, in a predawn raid, armed U.S. immigration agents broke into the Miami house where Elian Gonzalez had been staying and took charge of the 6-year-old Cuban refugee, flying him to Washington to be reunited with his Cuban father.

In 2003, hundreds of thousands of Shiites journeyed to Karbala for annual religious observances banned under Saddam Hussein and many called on Americans to go home.

In 2004, former NFL star Pat Tillman, who turned down a lucrative contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army rangers, was killed in Afghanistan.

In 2005, Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man charged in the United States in connection with the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, pleaded guilty and could face the death penalty.

A thought for the day: Confusius said, "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

Today is Sunday, April 23, the 113th day of 2006 with 252 to follow.

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 Taurus. They include English playwright William Shakespeare, probably born on this date in 1564 (and died on this date in 1616); James Buchanan, 15th president of the United States, in 1791; Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev in 1891; novelist Vladimir Nabokov in 1899; actress/diplomat Shirley Temple Black in 1928 (age 78); singer Roy Orbison in 1936; actors Lee Majors and David Birney, both in 1940 (age 66), Herve Villechaize in 1943; and actresses Sandra Dee in 1942 (age 64), Joyce DeWitt in 1949 (age 57), Jan Hooks ("Saturday Night Live") in 1957 (age 49), Valerie Bertinelli in 1960 (age 46), and Melana Kanakaredes in 1967 (age 39 ).

On this date in history:

In 1635, the first public school in America, the Boston Latin School, opened.

In 1898, the first movie theater opened at Koster and Bials Music Hall in New York City.

In 1898, the U.S. government asked for 125,000 volunteers to fight against Spain in Cuba.

In 1965, more than 200 U.S. planes struck North Vietnam in one of the heaviest raids of the Vietnam War.

In 1985, former U.S. Sen. Sam Ervin died at age 88. The North Carolina Democrat directed the Senate Watergate investigation that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

In 1987, an apartment building under construction in Bridgeport, Conn., collapsed, killing 28 construction workers.

In 1990, the West German government bowed to East German demands and agreed to a 1-1 exchange rate between East and West marks, clearing the path to a planned currency union.

In 1991, Virgilio Pablo Paz Romero was arrested for the 1976 car-bomb murder of Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier in Washington.

In 1992, former Washington Mayor Marion Barry was released from prison after serving a 6-month term for cocaine possession.

And in 1992, McDonald's opened its first restaurant in Beijing.

In 1993, United Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez died at age 66 of apparent natural causes.

In 2002, Pope John Paul II met at the Vatican with U.S. cardinals to discuss the sexual abuse scandal that had rocked the Roman Catholic clergy. He expressed an apology to victims of abuse, saying what had happened to them was a crime and "an appalling act in the eyes of God."

In 2003, North Korea, which two weeks earlier had pulled out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, met with U.S. officials to discuss the status of North Korea's weapons program.

Also in 2003, after a 10-day stalemate, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat reached agreement on a new Cabinet with his choice for prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2004, U.S. Marines killed about 30 insurgents in a fierce two-day firefight that began on this date outside Fallujah, Iraq.

In 2005, the Vatican said it expected 500,000 people in St. Peter's Square for the upcoming formal installation of Pope Benedict XVI.

Also in 2005, public health officials in Vietnam said they feared the South Asian outbreak of bird flu was likely to spawn a pandemic.

A thought for the day: Douglas Adams observed, "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."

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