The Almanac

By United Press International  |  April 17, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, April 17, the 107th day of 2006 with 258 to follow.

The moon is waning. 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-to-1 ratio, 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 United Nations 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 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."

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