The almanac

United Press International

This is Wednesday, April 8, the 98th day of 2009 with 267 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include Lewis Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 1726; pioneer neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing in 1869; actress Mary Pickford in 1892; Olympic figure skater Sonja Henie in 1912; former first lady Betty Ford in 1918 (age 91); comedian Shecky Greene in 1926 (age 83); actor and former ambassador to Mexico John Gavin in 1931 (age 78); former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 1938 (age 71); choreographer Michael Bennett of "A Chorus Line" fame in 1943; actor/singer John Schneider in 1954 (age 55); musician Julian Lennon in 1963 (age 46); actresses Robin Wright Penn in 1966 (age 43) and Patricia Arquette in 1968 (age 41); and actor Taran Noah Smith ("Home Improvement") in 1984 (age 25).

On this date in history:

On this day, Buddhists celebrate the commemoration of the birth of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, thought to have lived in India from 563 B.C. to 483 B.C.


In 1917, Austria-Hungary, an ally of Germany, severed diplomatic relations with the United States.

In 1935, U.S. Congress approved the Works Progress Administration, a central part of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal."

In 1952, U.S. President Harry Truman ordered government seizure of the steel industry to avoid a general strike.

In 1960, the U.S. Senate passed the landmark Civil Rights Bill.

In 1974, Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth's long-standing career record. Aaron played two more seasons ending with 755 home runs.

In 1990, Ryan White, who put the face of a child on AIDS, died of complications from the ailment at age 18.

In 1992, former tennis great Arthur Ashe confirmed he had AIDS. He said he contracted the disease from a blood transfusion, as Ryan White had also.

In 1993, Marian Anderson, the first African-American singer to appear at New York's Metropolitan Opera, died at age 91.

In 1994, Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain, 27, was found dead in his Seattle home of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

In 1995, in his book "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam," former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wrote that he and other U.S. leaders had been "wrong, terribly wrong" about the war.


In 2002, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein temporarily halted his country's oil exports, a move, he said, was aimed at damaging U.S. economy.

In 2004, U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice told the 9/11 Commission that a report about a possible plane hijacking received by the White House one month before terrorists struck New York and Washington contained mostly "historical information" and made no specific warning about a U.S. attack.

In 2005, some 250,000 mourners attended a three-hour funeral mass for Pope John Paul II in Rome's St. Peter's Square while about 1 million others gathered nearby. Among those in attendance were U.S. President George W. Bush, two former U.S. presidents, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and about 100 world leaders.

Also in 2005, Eric Rudolph agreed to plead guilty to four bombings, including one at the 1966 Olympics in Atlanta, in order to escape the death penalty.

In 2006, a White House spokesman said U.S. President George Bush approved a leak of classified information, as charged in the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby case, because it served a "public interest" and didn't compromise security.

In 2007, officials said three explosions in Iraq killed at least 29 people and wounded 52 others.


In 2008, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, pictured Iraqi progress as "fragile and reversible" and urged Congress to make no decisions on troop reduction until the fall.

A thought for the day: there's a Chinese proverb that says, "If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow."

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