The almanac

United Press International

Today is Sunday, April 27, the 118th day of 2008 with 248 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 historian Edward Gibbon in 1737; Samuel F.B. Morse, American artist and inventor of magnetic telegraphy, in 1791; Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and 18th president of the United States, in 1822; Wallace Carothers, inventor of nylon, in 1896; English poet C. Day Lewis in 1904; actor Jack Klugman in 1922 (age 86); Coretta Scott King, wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., in 1927; radio/TV host Casey Kasem in 1932 (age 76), actress Sandy Dennis in 1937; and pop singer Sheena Easton in 1959 (age 49).

On this date in history:

In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed by natives of the Philippine islands as he attempted to be the first to circumnavigate the world. His co-leader, Juan Sebastian de Elcano, completed the voyage in 1522.


In 1850, the American-owned steamship "The Atlantic" began regular trans-Atlantic passenger service. It was the first U.S. vessel to challenge what had been a British monopoly.

In 1865, the steamship Sultana, heavily overloaded with an estimated 2,300 passengers, most of them Union soldiers en route home, exploded on the Mississippi River just north of Memphis. The death toll in the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history was set at 1,450.

In 1937, the first Social Security payment was made in the United States.

In 1984, an 11-day siege ended at Libya's London embassy that began with the shooting of a policewoman. Britain broke diplomatic relations with Libya over the incident.

In 1987, U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese barred Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from the United States, citing the alleged role of the former U.N. secretary-general in Nazi war crimes.

In 1991, an estimated 70 tornadoes hit Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa, killing 23 people and leaving thousands homeless.

Also in 1991, the first group of Kurdish refugees to return to Iraq arrived by U.S. military helicopter at a safe haven near the Turkish border.

In 1993, Kuwait said it had foiled an Iraqi plot to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush during his visit earlier in the month.


Also in 1993, the final vote tallies showed Russia's Boris Yeltsin winning a solid victory in a referendum on his presidency and economic reforms.

In 1994, fighting flared anew in Rwanda only one day after separate cease-fires by rival tribes took effect.

Also in 1994, Virginia executed a condemned killer in the first case in which DNA testing was used to obtain a conviction.

In 2000, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced he had prostate cancer but said he hoped to continue is campaign for the U.S. Senate. He later dropped out of the race.

In 2003, Taiwan said it would bar visitors from China, Hong Kong, Canada and Singapore to prevent the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, widely known as SARS.

In 2004, U.S. congressional Democrats rolled out a plan for winning the war on terror, calling for an intelligence czar and a "Marshall Plan" for the Middle East.

Also in 2004, U.S. military units moved into positions once held by Spanish troops outside the holy city of Najaf, sparking fighting that killed some 40 insurgents.

In 2005, the U.S. State Department said the number of major international terrorist incidents more than tripled to 655 the previous year.


In 2006, a seven-month U.S. Senate committee inquiry said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was "in shambles" and should be replaced with a new agency.

Also in 2006, a senior Israeli intelligence official said Iran has purchased missiles from North Korea with a 1,200-mile range, capable of reaching Europe.

In 2007, Saudi Arabia announced the arrest of 172 terrorist suspects in a series of raids after uncovering a plot for suicide air attacks on oil and military installations.

A thought for the day: it was Laurence J. Peter who said, "Fortune knocks but once, but misfortune has much more patience."

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