The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Saturday, April 19, the 110th day of 2008 with 256 to follow.

Passover begins at sundown.


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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include statesman Roger Sherman, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, in 1721; music patron Augustus Juilliard in 1836; FBI agent Eliot Ness in 1903; actress Jayne Mansfield in 1933; Hugh O'Brian in 1925 (age 83), Dudley Moore in 1935, Elinor Donahue in 1937 (age 71) and Tim Curry in 1946 (age 62); auto racer Al Unser Jr. in 1962 (age 46); and actress Ashley Judd in 1968 (age 40).


On this date in history:

In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began at the Battle of Lexington, Mass. Eight Minutemen were killed and 10 wounded in an exchange of musket fire with British Redcoats.

In 1861, one week after the Civil War began, the first Americans died, the result of a clash between a secessionist mob in Baltimore and Massachusetts troops bound for Washington. Four soldiers and 12 rioters were killed.

In 1943, Jewish residents of the Warsaw Ghetto revolted when the Germans tried to resume deportations to the Treblinka concentration camp. When the uprising ended on May 16, 300 Germans and 7,000 Jews had died and the ghetto lay in ruins.

In 1971, the Soviet Union launched its first Salyut space station.

In 1989, an explosion in a gun turret aboard the battleship USS Iowa killed 47 sailors.

Also in 1989, pro-democracy demonstrations began in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

In 1990, the U.S.-backed Contra rebels and the outgoing Nicaraguan government agreed to an immediate cease-fire and a formula to disarm and demobilize the Contras by June 10.

In 1992, a series of watercolors depicting members of the British royal family nude caused a stir with London's Fleet Street newspapers.


In 1993, the 51-day Branch Davidian standoff near Waco, Texas, ended when fire destroyed the fortified compound after authorities tear-gassed the place. Cult leader David Koresh and 85 followers, including 17 children, were killed.

Also in 1993, the governor of South Dakota and seven other people were killed in a plane crash in Iowa.

In 1994, a federal jury awarded police beating victim Rodney King $3.8 million in compensatory damages from the city of Los Angeles.

In 1995, 168 people were killed and more than 400 injured when a bomb exploded outside a federal office building in Oklahoma City.

In 1997, the rising Red River drove tens of thousands of people from their homes in North Dakota and Minnesota.

In 2000, a federal appeals court ruled in a high-profile case that 6-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez may stay in the United States until the court heard the full appeal from his relatives, who sought to retain custody of the boy. Eventually, he was returned to his father and went back to Cuba.

In 2004, U.S. President George Bush was reported to have committed $660 million to train international peacekeeping forces outside U.N. control, with an eye primarily on African countries.


In 2005, conservative German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, already a major power in the Roman Catholic Church, was elected pope to succeed the John Paul II. He chose the name of Benedict XVI.

In 2006, delegates from the United States, Britain, Russia, China, Germany and France, meeting in Moscow, were unable to agree on a response to Iran's nuclear program.

In 2007, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, under increasing pressure to resign, told the Senate Judiciary Committee the firings of eight U.S. attorneys were justified even if the process was flawed. Critics charge the firings were politically motivated.

A thought for the day: there's an anonymous saying, "Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell."

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