The almanac

United Press International

Today is Saturday, May 10, the 131st day of 2008 with 235 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include British statesman and scholar James Bryce in 1838; Swiss theologian Karl Barth in 1886; Max Steiner, who composed musical scores for movies, including "Gone With The Wind" and "Casablanca," in 1888; actor/dancer Fred Astaire in 1899; movie producer David O. Selznick ("Gone With The Wind") in 1902; pediatrician/author T. Berry Brazelton in 1918 (age 90); actress Nancy Walker in 1922; actor Gary Owens ("Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In") in 1936 (age 72); and U2 lead singer Bono in 1960 (age 48).

On this date in history:

In 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops and spent the next two years in prison.

In 1869, the "golden spike" was driven at Promontory, Utah, joining the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific lines to form America's first transcontinental railway.

In 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, swinging 89 army divisions around France's so-called impregnable Maginot Line. One month later, German forces entered Paris.


In 1973, a federal grand jury investigating the Watergate scandal indicted former Attorney General John Mitchell and former Commerce Secretary Maurice Stans on perjury charges.

In 1984, a federal judge in Utah found the U.S. government negligent in above-ground Nevada nuclear tests from 1951 to 1962 that exposed downwind residents to radiation.

In 1992, at least 14 coal miners were killed in an underground explosion at a mine in Nova Scotia, Canada.

In 1993, the FDA approved the sale of the first female condom.

In 1994, Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president.

Also in 1994, the Michigan Court of Appeals struck down the state's ban on assisted suicide.

And in 1994, John Wayne Gacy, the convicted killer of 33 young men and boys, was executed in Illinois.

In 1995, a second man, Terry Nichols, was charged in the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Timothy McVeigh earlier had been charged in the case.

Also in 1995, the World Health Organization said a mysterious disease in Zaire was caused by the Ebola virus. By the time the outbreak was declared over in late August, 244 of the 315 known victims had died.


In 2000, Pentagon officials said an investigation had concluded that the U.S. Army's highest-ranking woman had been the victim of sexual harassment from another Army general.

In 2002, former FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who had spied for the Soviet Union and Russia for more than 20 years, was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

In 2003, a record outburst of tornadoes in the Midwest and South over the past few days claimed 48 lives, injured hundreds and leveled hundreds of buildings. The total of 400 twisters was twice the previous U.S. weekly record.

In 2004, U.S. Army forces leveled the Baghdad headquarters of radical cleric Moqtada Sadr and killed 35 of his people.

In 2005, the Secret Service said it was investigating reports a hand grenade was found about 100 feet from where U.S. President George Bush spoke in the former Soviet state of Georgia. It turned out to be a harmless training device.

Also in 2005, Jordanian authorities reportedly confiscated copies of the controversial bestseller, "The Da Vinci Code," for allegedly slandering Christianity.

In 2006, Indonesian officials ordered the evacuation of about 17,000 residents of the island of Java as Mount Merapi spewed lava and poisonous smoke and appeared about to erupt.


In 2007, British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced he would leave office on June 27 after 10 years.

Also in 2007, Afghan officials said the latest U.S. airstrikes may have killed as many as 50 civilians.

A thought for the day: in "Don Juan," George Gordon Byron wrote, "Adversity is the first path to truth."

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