The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Monday, May 12, the 133rd day of 2008 with 233 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 English painter and writer of limericks and nonsense poems Edward Lear in 1812; nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale in 1820; French composer Jules Emile Massenet in 1842; lawmaker and author Henry Cabot Lodge in 1850; novelist Philip Wylie in 1902; actress Katharine Hepburn in 1907; orchestra leader Gordon Jenkins and jazz trombonist Jack Jenney in 1910; newscaster Howard K. Smith in 1914; convicted spy Julius Rosenberg in 1918 (executed with his wife on June 19, 1953); baseball Hall of Fame member Yogi Berra in 1925 (age 83); composer Burt Bacharach in 1928 (age 80); TV personality Tom Snyder and artist Frank Stella (age 72), both in 1936; comedian George Carlin in 1937 (age 71); and actors Gabriel Byrne and Bruce Boxleitner ("Babylon 5") in 1950 (age 58), Ving Rhames in 1959 (age 49), Emilio Estevez in 1962 (age 46), Stephen Baldwin in 1966 (age 42), Kim Fields in 1969 (age 39); and Jason Biggs in 1978 (age 30).


On this date in history:

In 1922, the magazine "Radio Broadcast" commented, "The rate of increase in the number who spend at least part of an evening listening to radio is almost incomprehensible."

In 1937, George VI was crowned king of England, succeeding his brother Edward, who abdicated to marry U.S. divorcee Wallis Simpson.

In 1949, Soviet authorities announced the end of a land blockade of Berlin. The blockade lasted 328 days but was neutralized by the Allies' Berlin airlift.

In 1970, the U.S. Senate confirmed U.S. President Richard Nixon's nomination of U.S. District Judge Harry A. Blackmun to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1975, a Cambodian gunboat fired on the U.S. cargo ship Mayaguez and forced it into a Cambodian port. All 39 crewmen aboard were freed but a number of U.S. servicemen died during a rescue mission two days later.

In 1991, Operation Sea Angel sent 8,000 U.S. troops to Bangladesh to distribute relief packages to cyclone victims.

In 1992, CIA Director Robert Gates said he had begun declassifying all relevant information on the assassination of U.S. President John Kennedy to end the "insidious, perverse notion" that the CIA was involved.


In 1999, U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin announced he was resigning. Rubin's policies were credited with contributing to the roaring U.S economy.

In 2002, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter began a visit to Cuba. He was the first president, in or out of office, to visit the island since communists took over in 1959.

In 2003, U.S. officials in Iraq reported the capture of Rihab Rashjid Taha, nicknamed Dr. Germ, who played a major role in Iraq's biological weapons program.

Also in 2003, at least 59 people died and six apartment houses were destroyed when a truck laden with explosives blew up in a town in Chechnya where a revolt against Russia continued.

In 2004, a Massachusetts Roman Catholic order was sued by nine former students of one of its schools, the Boston School for the Deaf, for alleged abuse that happened as long as 60 years ago.

In 2005, U.S. President George Bush was asked to explain a secret British memo that cast doubt on the legality of going to war with Iraq in 2002.

In 2006, as many as 200 people were killed in a Nigerian gasoline pipeline explosion that officials said apparently was set off by vandals siphoning fuel.


Also in 2006, Daniel Biechele, a man whose fireworks touched off the 2003 nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I., that killed 100 people, was sentenced to four years in prison. The judge said there was no sign of criminal intent.

In 2007, the top Taliban leader in southern and southeastern Afghanistan, Mulah Dadullah, was killed by U.S.-led forces.

Also in 2007, about 100,000 people attended a "Family Day" rally in Rome to protest a move that would grant more rights to same-sex and unmarried couples in Italy.

A thought for the day: Mark Twain remarked, "I never let schooling interfere with my education."

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