The Almanac

By United Press International  |  April 19, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, April 19, the 109th day of 2006 with 256 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 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 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, re-elected 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."

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