The Almanac

By United Press International  |  May 27, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, May 27, the 147th day of 2006 with 218 to follow.

The moon is waxing. 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 Gemini. They include financier Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1794; social reformer Amelia Bloomer, for whom the undergarment was named, in 1818; poet Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the lyrics for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," in 1819; financier and railroad developer Jay Gould in 1836; frontiersman "Wild Bill" Hickok in 1837; dancer Isadora Duncan in 1878; detective novelist Dashiell Hammett in 1894; Composer Harold Rome in 1908; U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey and actor Vincent Price, both in 1911; golfer Sam Snead in 1912; author Herman Wouk in 1915 (age 91); actor Christopher Lee in 1922 (age 84); former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1923 (age 83); jazz musician Ramsey Lewis and actress Lee Meriwether, both in 1935 (age 71); actors Lou Gossett Jr. in 1936 (age 70) and Bruce Weitz in 1943 (age 63); singer/songwriter Don Williams in 1939 (age 67); and actors Peri Gilpin ("Frasier") in 1961 (age 45), Todd Bridges ("Diff'rent Strokes") in 1965 (age 41) and Joseph Fiennes in 1970 (age 36).

On this date in history:

In 1703, Czar Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg as the new capital of Russia.

In 1930, Richard Gurley Drew received a patent for his adhesive tape, which was later manufactured by 3M as Scotch tape.

In 1937, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was opened. An estimated 200,000 people crossed it the first day.

In 1941, the British Navy sank the German battleship Bismarck 400 miles west of the French port of Brest.

In 1968, the U.S. nuclear submarine Scorpion disappeared in the Atlantic with 99 men aboard.

In 1988, the U.S. Senate voted 98-5 in favor of the U.S.-Soviet treaty to abolish intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

In 1990, Cesar Gaviria, 34, was elected president of Colombia after a campaign in which three candidates were killed. He vowed to make no deals with the cocaine cartels.

In 1992, hours after a Russian-brokered cease-fire went into effect in Bosnia, Serb guerrillas launched a surprise mortar bombardment on Sarajevo -- killing at least 20 people and injuring up to 160 more waiting in lines to buy bread.

In 1993, U.S. sailor Terry Helvey was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to murder in the October 1992 death of gay shipmate Allen Schindler in Sasebo, Japan.

Also in 1993, five people were killed when a car bomb exploded near an art gallery in Florence, Italy. A few paintings by relatively minor artists were destroyed but masterpieces by Botticelli and Michaelangelo survived.

In 1996, a cease-fire was signed in the rebellious Russian republic of Chechnya.

In 1997, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the leaders of NATO nations signed an agreement clearing the way for NATO expansion to the east.

In 1999, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and four other Serbian leaders were indicted on murder and other war crimes. Milosevic went on trial in 2002 for war crimes but he died in 2006 before the trial ended.

In 2003, a top U.N. official said the "road map" for peace in the Middle East, designed to settle Israel-Palestinians relations and formally establish a Palestinian state, will not be changed or renegotiated.

Also in 2003, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands swore in a new center-right government in The Hague after 125 days of coalition-forming talks. Christian Democrat Jan-Peter Balkenende remained prime minister.

In 2004, a federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld Oregon's law authorizing doctors to help their terminally ill patients commit suicide.

Also in 2004, more than a pound of explosives was found in Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic, near a building where a NATO meeting was slated a few days later.

In 2005, Democrats forced the postponement of a U.S. Senate vote on the appointment of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Also in 2005, the U.N. conference on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty ended with failure to reach any substantive agreement on policy.

And, a suicide bomb killed 19 people at a crowded Muslim shrine in Islamabad, Pakistan, on the last day of a Shiite-Sunni religious festival.

A thought for the day: Longfellow wrote, "Most people would succeed in small things, if they were not troubled with great ambitions."

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