The almanac

By United Press International
Subscribe | UPI Odd Newsletter

Today is Wednesday, April 16, the 107th day of 2008 with 259 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 this date are under the sign of Aries. They include French writer Anatole France in 1844; aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright in 1867; movie legend Charlie Chaplin in 1889; British actor Peter Ustinov in 1921; composer/conductor Henry Mancini in 1924; jazz flutist Herbie Mann in 1930; singer Bobby Vinton in 1935 (age 73); former basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1947 (age 61); actors Ellen Barkin in 1954 (age 54) and Jon Cryer and Martin Lawrence, both in 1965 (age 43); and Tejeno singer Selena (Quintanilla) in 1971.

On this date in history:

In 1862, the U.S. Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia.

In 1947, in Texas City's port on Galveston Bay, a fire aboard the French freighter Grandcamp ignited ammonium nitrate and other explosive materials in the ship's hold, causing a massive blast that destroyed much of the city and claimed nearly 600 lives.


In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on an 11-day moon mission with three U.S. astronauts aboard.

In 1975, the government of Cambodia asked communist insurgents for a cease-fire and offered to turn power over to them.

In 1991, the first Jewish settlement under the Israeli government opened in the occupied territories, defying a U.S. request to stop such settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In 1992, the U.S. House of Representatives ethics committee released the names of more than 300 check-bouncers, ending an inquiry into the House bank scandal that rocked the U.S. Congress and raised havoc in election campaigns.

Also in 1992, the FDA ruled silicone breast implants may be returned to market but only with severe restrictions limiting them to women who have urgent need.

In 1999, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky announced his retirement from the NHL after 21 years.

In 2002, the premier and members of his Dutch government resigned after a report faulted them, along with the United Nations, for a 1995 massacre of 7,500 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, Bosnia.

In 2005, Sudan said initial oil drilling operations in the troubled Darfur region indicate there is abundant oil in the area.


In 2006, Iranian officials said they had 40,000 suicide bombers ready to attack U.S. and British targets in the Middle East if Iran's nuclear facilities are attacked.

In 2007, a Virginia Tech senior, on a sudden campus shooting rampage, killed 27 fellow students and five faculty members before shooting himself fatally. The shooter, Cho Seung-hui, 23, a South Korea native, was accused further of wounding 24 others.

Also in 2007, Wal-Mart reclaimed the No. 1 position on the 2007 Fortune 500 list with $351.1 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2006, with Exxon Mobil dropping to runner-up.

A thought for the day: cartoon character Ziggy advises, "You can complain because roses have thorns or you can rejoice because thorns have roses."

Latest Headlines