The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Monday, April 7, the 98th day of 2008 with 268 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include missionary St. Francis Xavier in 1506; English poet William Wordsworth in 1770; gossip columnist Walter Winchell in 1897; conductor Percy Faith in 1908; singer Billie Holiday in 1915; sitar player Ravi Shankar in 1920 (age 88); actor James Garner in 1928 (age 80); former Defense Department analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, in 1931 (age 77); actor Wayne Rogers in 1933 (age 75); former California Gov. and current state Attorney General Jerry Brown Jr., in 1938 (age 70); film director Francis Ford Coppola ("The Godfather") and British TV personality David Frost, both in 1939 (age 69); former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in 1944 (age 64); musician John Oates in 1948 (age 60); actor/martial arts expert Jackie Chan in 1954 (age 54); and actor Russell Crowe in 1964 (age 44).


On this date in history:

In A.D. 30, by many scholars' reckoning, Jesus of Nazareth was crucified in Jerusalem.

In 1862, Union forces under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant defeated the Confederates at Shiloh, Tenn.

In 1953, Swedish statesman Dag Hammarskjold was elected secretary-general of the United Nations. He served until his death in a 1961 plane crash.

In 1990, suspected arson fires aboard the ferry Scandinavian Star killed at least 75 people in Scandinavia's worst post-war maritime disaster.

Also in 1990, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and its director were indicted on obscenity and child pornography charges for displaying a controversial Robert Mapplethorpe photo exhibit.

In 1991, the United States began airlifting food, water and medical gear to Kurdish refugees at the Iraq-Turkish border.

In 2004, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against New York State, challenging the constitutionality of the state's law prohibiting same-sex marriage.

In 2005, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite Muslim, and Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish leader, were named prime minister and president, respectively, in the new Iraqi government.

In 2006, three suicide bombers set off explosives in a Baghdad mosque, killing at least 90 people and injuring an estimated 175.


Also in 2006, the United States and the European Union suspended financial aid to the Palestinian Authority because its ruling Hamas party refuses to recognize Israel.

In 2007, a published report said the United States allowed Ethiopia to buy arms secretly from North Korea in January, three months after the U.N. imposed sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear program.

Also in 2007, the captain of the Greek cruise ship M/S Sea Diamond, which ran aground off Santorini with about 1.500 passengers and crew aboard, was charged with criminal negligence.

A thought for the day: James A. LaFond-Lewis said, "The fearless are merely fearless. People who act in spite of their fear are truly brave."

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