The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Tuesday, April 14, the 104th day of 2009 with 261 to follow.

The moon is waning. 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 Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens, founder of the wave theory of light, in 1629; Anne Sullivan, the "miracle worker" who taught a blind and deaf Helen Keller, in 1866; English historian Arnold Toynbee in 1889; British actor John Gielgud in 1904; Haitian dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier in 1907; actors Rod Steiger in 1925 and Bradford Dillman in 1930 (age 79); country singer Loretta Lynn in 1935 (age 74); former New York City police detective Frank Serpico in 1936 (age 73); actress Julie Christie and former baseball star and manager Pete Rose, both in 1941 (age 68); and actors Robert Carlyle in 1961 (age 48); Anthony Michael Hall in 1968 (age 41) and Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") in 1977 (age 32).


On this date in history:

In 1828, Noah Webster published his "American Dictionary of the English Language." It was the first dictionary of American English to be published.

In 1861, the flag of the Confederacy was raised over Fort Sumter, S.C., as Union troops there surrendered in the early days of the Civil War.

In 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot U.S. President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington. Lincoln died the next morning. He was succeeded by Vice President Andrew Johnson.

In 1983, U.S. President Ronald Reagan denied he was trying to overthrow the leftist Nicaraguan government.

In 1986, U.S. warplanes struck Libya in the biggest U.S. airstrike since the Vietnam War. Libya claimed 40 people were killed.

In 1991, 20 major paintings by Van Gogh were stolen from an Amsterdam museum by two gunmen. The paintings were found abandoned 35 minutes later.

In 1992, a federal appeals court in New York ruled that hotel magnate Leona Helmsley, 71, must go to prison for tax evasion.

In 1993, 12 top former Communist officials went on trial charged with treason in the August 1991 coup attempt that hastened the fall of the Soviet Union.

Also in 1993, violence raged throughout South Africa as hundreds of thousands of blacks protested the slaying of popular Communist Party Chief Chris Hani.


In 1994, executives representing seven major tobacco companies told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee that they didn't believe cigarettes were addictive.

Also in 1994, in what was called a tragic mistake, two U.S. warplanes shot down two U.S. Army helicopters in northern Iraq's "no fly" zone. All 26 people aboard, including 15 Americans, were killed.

In 1997, comedian Ellen DeGeneres revealed she was a lesbian in an interview with Time magazine. Her ABC-TV sitcom didn't long survive her revelation.

In 2002, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in an unsuccessful effort to ease tensions with Israel and stop a wave of suicide bombings.

In 2003, U.S. military officials declared that the principal fighting in Iraq was over after Marines captured Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town.

Also in 2003, as looting became widespread in Iraq, U.S. Marines and Iraqi policemen began joint security patrols in Baghdad.

In 2005, several indictments were handed down in the U.N. oil-for-food program. A U.S. oil trader was charged with making kickbacks to Iraqis to win contracts.

Also in 2005, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration began enforcing a ban on all types of lighters on planes and in the secure areas of airports.


And, a wave of violence in several parts of Iraq killed about 30 people over the next three days, focusing mostly on police officers.

In 2007, a reported 32 people died when a bus carrying elementary school students collided with a truck on a highway in Turkey.

In 2008, major U.S. airlines Delta and Northwest agreed on a $3.1 billion merger deal.

Also in 2008, Silvia Berlusconi, a staunch U.S. ally, swept back into power in a third term as prime minister of Italy in a new election that gave him control of both houses of parliament.

Thought for the day: Abraham Lincoln said, "If there is anything that a man can do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance."

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