The Almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Saturday, May 12, the 132nd day of 2007 with 233 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include English painter and writer of limericks and nonsense poems Edward Lear in 1812; nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale in 1820; French composer Jules Emile Massenet in 1842; lawmaker and author Henry Cabot Lodge in 1850; novelist Philip Wylie in 1902; actress Katharine Hepburn in 1907; orchestra leader Gordon Jenkins and jazz trombonist Jack Jenney in 1910; newscaster Howard K. Smith in 1914; convicted spy Julius Rosenberg in 1918; baseball Hall of Fame member Yogi Berra in 1925 (age 82); composer Burt Bacharach in 1928 (age 79); TV personality Tom Snyder and artist Frank Stella, both in 1936 (age 71); comedian George Carlin in 1937 (age 70); and actors Gabriel Byrne in 1950 (age 56), Bruce Boxleitner ("Babylon 5") in 1950 (age 57), Ving Rhames in 1959 (age 48), Emilio Estevez in 1962 (age 45), Stephen Baldwin in 1966 (age 41), Kim Fields in 1969 (age 38); and Jason Biggs in 1978 (age 29).


On this date in history:

In 1922, the magazine "Radio Broadcast" commented, "The rate of increase in the number who spend at least part of an evening listening to radio is almost incomprehensible."

In 1937, George VI was crowned king of England, succeeding his brother Edward, who abdicated to marry U.S. divorcee Wallis Simpson.

In 1949, Soviet authorities announced the end of a land blockade of Berlin. The blockade lasted 328 days but was neutralized by the Allies' Berlin airlift.

In 1970, the U.S. Senate confirmed U.S. President Richard Nixon's nomination of U.S. District Judge Harry A. Blackmun to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1975, a Cambodian gunboat fired on the U.S. cargo ship Mayaguez and forced it into a Cambodian port. All 39 crewmen aboard were freed but a number of U.S. servicemen died during a rescue mission two days later.

In 1991, Operation Sea Angel sent 8,000 U.S. troops to Bangladesh to distribute relief packages to cyclone victims.

In 1992, CIA Director Robert Gates said he had begun declassifying all relevant information on the U.S. President John Kennedy assassination to end the "insidious, perverse notion" that the CIA was involved.


In 1999, U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin announced he was resigning. Rubin's policies were credited with contributing to the roaring U.S economy.

In 2002, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter began a visit to Cuba. He was the first president, in or out of office, to visit the island since communists took over in 1959.

In 2003, U.S. officials in Iraq reported the capture of Rihab Rashjid Taha, nicknamed Dr. Germ, who played a major role in Iraq's biological weapons program.

Also in 2003, at least 59 died and six apartment houses were destroyed when a truck laden with explosives blew up in a town in Chechnya where a revolt against Russia continued.

In 2004, a Massachusetts-based Roman Catholic order has been sued by nine former students of one of its schools, the Boston School for the Deaf, for alleged abuse that happened as long as 60 years ago.

In 2005, U.S. President George Bush was asked to explain a secret British memo that cast doubt on the legality of going to war with Iraq in 2002. The letter to Bush from 89 congressional Democrats asked for clarification of details from minutes of a secret British meeting that said U.S. "intelligence and facts were being fixed" to support the invasion of Iraq.


In 2006, as many as 200 people were killed in a Nigerian gasoline pipeline explosion that officials said apparently was set off by vandals siphoning fuel.

Also in 2006, Daniel Biechele, a man whose fireworks touched off the 2003 nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I., that killed 100 people, was sentenced to four years in prison. The judge said there was no sign of criminal intent.

A thought for the day: Mark Twain remarked, "I never let schooling interfere with my education."

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