The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 114th day of 2008 with 252 to follow.

The moon is waning. 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 Taurus. They include English playwright William Shakespeare in 1564; James Buchanan, 15th president of the United States, in 1791; Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev in 1891; novelist Vladimir Nabokov in 1899; actress/diplomat Shirley Temple Black in 1928 (age 80); singer Roy Orbison in 1936; actors Lee Majors and David Birney, both in 1939 (age 69), Herve Villechaize in 1943; and actresses Sandra Dee in 1942, Joyce DeWitt in 1949 (age 59), Jan Hooks ("Saturday Night Live") in 1957 (age 51), Valerie Bertinelli in 1960 (age 48) and Melina Kanakaredes in 1967 (age 41).


On this date in history:

In 1635, the first public school in America, the Boston Latin School, opened.

In 1898, the first movie theater opened at Koster and Bials Music Hall in New York City.

In 1898, the U.S. government asked for 125,000 volunteers to fight against Spain in Cuba.

In 1965, more than 200 U.S. planes struck North Vietnam in one of the heaviest raids of the Vietnam War

In 1985, former U.S. Sen. Sam Ervin died at age 88. The North Carolina Democrat directed the Senate Watergate investigation that led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation.

In 1987, an apartment building under construction in Bridgeport, Conn., collapsed, killing 28 construction workers.

In 1990, the West German government bowed to East German demands and agreed to a 1-1 exchange rate between East and West marks, clearing the path to a planned currency union.

In 1991, Virgilio Pablo Paz Romero was arrested for the 1976 car-bomb killing of Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier in Washington.

In 1992, former Washington Mayor Marion Barry was released from prison after serving a six-month term for cocaine possession.

Also in 1992, McDonald's opened its first restaurant in Beijing.


In 1993, United Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez died at age 66 of apparent natural causes.

In 2002, Pope John Paul II met at the Vatican with U.S. cardinals to discuss the sexual abuse scandal that had rocked the Roman Catholic clergy. He expressed an apology to victims of abuse, saying what had happened to them was a crime and "an appalling act in the eyes of God."

In 2003, after a 10-day stalemate, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat reached agreement on a new Cabinet with his choice for prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2004, U.S. Marines killed about 30 insurgents in a two-day firefight that began on this date outside Fallujah, Iraq.

In 2005, public health officials in Vietnam said they feared the South Asian outbreak of bird flu was likely to spawn a pandemic.

In 2006, Hungary's Socialist-Liberal coalition recaptured government control by a comfortable majority in parliamentary elections.

Also in 2006, the Roman Catholic Church and the Chinese Communist Party reportedly were moving slowly toward normal relations for the first time.

In 2007, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who faced down army tanks during the fall of the Soviet Union, died of cardiac arrest at the age of 76.


Also in 2007, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he was ordering a halt to construction of a wall separating a Sunni neighborhood from other parts of Baghdad.

A thought for the day: Douglas Adams observed, "I may not have gone where I intended to go but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."

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