The Almanac

By United Press International   |   May 18, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, May 18, the 138th day of 2006 with 227 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include English philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell in 1872; German architect Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, in 1883; film director Frank Capra in 1897; American composer Meredith Willson ("The Music Man") in 1902; singer Perry Como and director/screenwriter Richard Brooks ("Key Largo," "Elmer Gantry"), both in 1912; ballet dancer Dame Margot Fonteyn in 1919; Pope John Paul II, born Karol Wojtyla, in 1920; actors Pernell Roberts in 1930 (age 76) and Robert Morse in 1931 (age 75); former baseball star Reggie Jackson in 1946 (age 60); country singer George Strait in 1952 (age 54); and actor Chow Yun-Fat in 1955 (age 51).

On this date in history:

In 1860, the Republican Party nominated Abraham Lincoln for president at its convention in Chicago.

In 1933, the U.S. Congress created the Tennessee Valley Authority for the purpose of flood control and rural electrification.

In 1944, Allied troops captured Monte Cassino in Italy, after one of the longest and bloodiest battles of World War II.

In 1979, a federal jury in Oklahoma City awarded $10.5 million to the estate of Karen Silkwood, a laboratory technician contaminated by radiation at a Kerr-McGee plutonium plant in 1974.

In 1980, Mount St. Helen's in southwestern Washington state erupted, blowing the top off the mountain and killing at least 55 people.

In 1990, East and West Germany signed a treaty for economic, monetary and social union. West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said the pact marked the "birth of a free and unified Germany."

In 1991, chemist Helen Sharmon became the first Briton in space when she blasted off from the Baikonur Space Center aboard a Soviet spacecraft,

In 1992, bandleader Lawrence Welk, whose bubbly champagne dance music made him a millionaire, died at age 89.

In 1994, the last Israeli soldiers pulled out of the Gaza Strip as Palestinian police took their place.

In 2003, Morocco's King Mohamed VI personally oversaw the investigation into the suicide bombings that killed 41 and wounded another 100 in downtown Casablanca.

In 2004, Sonia Gandhi, a member through marriage of India's dominant political family, declined to accept the post of prime minister after her Indian National Congress party had won an upset victory in parliamentary elections.

In 2004 sports, Randy Johnson, Arizona's 40-year-old lefthander, pitched a perfect game in a 2-0 win over Atlanta. He was the oldest major league pitcher to accomplish that feat.

In 2005, the White House confirmed that a grenade found on May 10 in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi was capable of exploding and had posed a threat to President Bush who spoke nearby. Earlier, officials said it was a harmless training device.

A thought for the day: Lewis Mumford wrote, "Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf."

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