The almanac

By United Press International  |  April 28, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, April 28, the 119th day of 2008 with 247 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 James Monroe, fifth president of the United States, in 1758; actor Lionel Barrymore in 1878; novelist Harper Lee ("To Kill a Mockingbird") in 1926 (age 82); former Secretary of State James Baker in 1930 (age 78); Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1937; actors Carolyn Jones in 1930, Madge Sinclair in 1938, Ann-Margret in 1941 (age 67), Marcia Strassman in 1948 (age 60) and Bruno Kirby in 1949; "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno in 1950 (age 58); and actress Penelope Cruz in 1974 (age 34).

On this date in history:

In 1788, Maryland ratified the Constitution, becoming the seventh state of the Union.

In 1789, the most famous of all naval mutinies took place aboard the HMS Bounty en route from Tahiti to Jamaica.

In 1945, fascist leader Benito Mussolini, his mistress and several of his friends were executed by Italian partisans.

In 1975, the last U.S. civilians were evacuated from South Vietnam as North Vietnamese forces tightened their noose around Saigon.

In 1986, the Soviet Union announced the Chernobyl nuclear reactor fire had killed two people, with 197 hospitalized. Nine months later, it reported 31 had died and 231 suffered radiation sickness.

In 1988, an Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 lost an 18-foot chunk of fuselage at 24,000 feet between Hilo and Honolulu, Hawaii, killing a flight attendant. The pilot landed on Maui with the remaining 94 passengers and crew, 61 of them injured.

In 1993, U.S. Defense Secretary Les Aspin opened combat aircraft to military service women and sought a change in the law to allow women to serve on naval combat vessels.

In 1994, the U.S. Navy expelled 24 midshipmen from the U.S Naval Academy in what was said to be the biggest cheating scandal in academy history.

Also in 1994, former CIA officer Aldrich Ames pleaded guilty to spying for the Soviet Union.

In 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton testified via videotape as a defense witness in the Whitewater land trial.

Also in 1996, a rampage by a gunman in Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia, killed 35 people.

In 2000, 17 U.S. states joined with the U.S. government in asking a federal judge in the Microsoft anti-trust case to break the company into two parts.

In 2001, California businessman Dennis Tito became the first tourist in space. He reportedly paid Russia's cash-strapped space agency as much as $20 million to give him a ride to the International Space Station.

In 2003, Iraqis said 15 people were killed and about 65 wounded when U.S. soldiers opened fire on a group holding an anti-America rally. U.S. officials said the soldiers were responding to gunfire.

Also in 2003, the SARS outbreak in Beijing escalated rapidly during April with the number of cases reaching 1,199 by month's end.

In 2004, about 100 people were killed when armed insurgents stormed police stations in southern Thailand.

In 2005, a Shiite-led Cabinet was approved by Iraq's National Assembly for its first freely elected government.

Also in 2005, the Japanese train wreck death toll hit 106. An express train derailed and smashed into an apartment near Osaka.

In 2006, the U.S. Army officer in charge of Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 was charged with taking part in prisoner abuse.

In 2007, U.S. inspectors reported significant problems with reconstruction projects in Iraq, including plumbing and electric failures and apparent looting.

Also in 2007, Pakistan's interior minister was injured slightly in a suicide bombing that killed at least 28 people and injured dozens more in the northwest city of Charsadda.

A thought for the day: H. Jackson Brown Jr. said, "Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking."

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