The almanac

United Press International

Today is Sunday, June 15, the 167th day of 2008 with 199 to follow.

This is Fathers Day.


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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include Prince Edward of England, son of Edward III and known as the "Black Prince," in 1330; Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg in 1843; orchestra leader David Rose in 1910; artist Saul Steinberg in 1914; pianist Erroll Garner in 1921; U.S. Rep. Morris Udall, D-Ariz., in 1922; former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1932 (age 75); country singer Waylon Jennings in 1937; singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson in 1941; and actors Jim Varney in 1949, Jim Belushi in 1954 (age 54), Julie Hagerty ("Airplane!") in 1955 (age 53), Helen Hunt in 1963 (age 45), Courtney Cox Arquette ("Friends") in 1964 (age 44) and Neil Patrick Harris ("Doogie Howser, M.D.") in 1973 (age 35).


On this date in history:

In 1215, under pressure from rebellious barons, England's King John signed the Magna Carta, a crucial first step toward creating Britain's constitutional monarchy.

In 1752, Benjamin Franklin, in a dangerous experiment, demonstrated the relationship between lightning and electricity by flying a kite during a storm in Philadelphia. An iron key suspended from the string attracted a lightning bolt.

In 1785, two Frenchmen attempting to cross the English Channel in a hot-air balloon were killed when their balloon caught fire and crashed. It was the first fatal aviation accident.

In 1846, the U.S.-Canadian border was established.

In 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave in Thomasville, Ga., became the first African-American cadet to graduate from West Point.

In 1904, the excursion steamboat "General Slocum" caught fire on the East River in New York, killing 1,121 people.

In 1944, U.S. forces invaded the Japanese-occupied Mariana Islands in World War II action. By day's end, a beachhead had been established on the island of Saipan.

In 1987, Richard Norton of Philadelphia and Calin Rosetti of West Germany completed the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth in a single-engine propeller aircraft, landing in Paris after a 38,000-mile flight.


In 1996, 206 people were injured when a bomb exploded in a mall in Manchester, England.

In 1998, Nigeria's new military ruler ordered the release of some of the political prisoners jailed under the previous regime.

In 1999, South Korean ships sank a North Korean torpedo boat, killing all aboard. The incident followed a series of confrontations in disputed territorial waters.

In 2002, Arthur Andersen, one of the nation's top accounting firms, was convicted of obstruction of justice by a federal jury in connection with the Enron investigation.

Also in 2002, as wildfires plagued several Western states, a Forest Service veteran admitted accidentally starting the biggest Colorado fire, which by then had consumed 100,000 acres, while burning a letter from her estranged husband.

In 2004, a U.S. Army general suspended after prisoner abuse was revealed at a Baghdad prison said she was ordered to treat prisoners like dogs. Brig Gen. Janis Karpinski said she was being made a scapegoat for the scandal.

In 2005, the trial of a man accused of organizing the abduction and slaying of three civil rights workers in 1964 got under way in Philadelphia, Miss., 41 years after the deed.


In 2006, at least 61 people, including 15 children, were killed when their bus hit a land mine in northern Sri Lanka.

In 2007, a Mississippi jury convicted a reputed Ku Klux Klansman in the abductions and killings of two black teenagers 43 years earlier.

Also in 2007, Mike Nifong, the Durham County, N.C., district attorney, admitted violating professional conduct rules in his vigorous handling of rape allegations against Duke University lacrosse players. The athletes were cleared.

A thought for the day: Georg Christoph Lichtenberg said, "A book is a mirror: when a monkey looks in, no apostle can look out."

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