The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Thursday, April 23, the 113th day of 2009 with 252 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 Taurus. They include English playwright William Shakespeare in 1564; James Buchanan, 15th president of the United States, in 1791; Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev in 1891; novelist Vladimir Nabokov in 1899; actress/diplomat Shirley Temple Black in 1928 (age 81); singer Roy Orbison in 1936; actors Lee Majors and David Birney, both in 1939 (age 70), Herve Villechaize in 1943, Sandra Dee in 1942, Joyce DeWitt in 1949 (age 60), Jan Hooks ("Saturday Night Live") in 1957 (age 52), Valerie Bertinelli in 1960 (age 49) and Melina Kanakaredes in 1967 (age 42).


On this date in history:

In 1635, the first public school in America, the Boston Latin School, opened.

In 1898, the first movie theater opened at Koster and Bials Music Hall in New York City.

In 1898, the U.S. government asked for 125,000 volunteers to fight against Spain in Cuba.

In 1965, more than 200 U.S. planes struck North Vietnam in one of the heaviest raids of the Vietnam War.

In 1985, former U.S. Sen. Sam Ervin died at age 88. The North Carolina Democrat directed the Senate Watergate investigation that led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation.

In 1987, an apartment building under construction in Bridgeport, Conn., collapsed, killing 28 construction workers.

In 1990, the West German government bowed to East German demands and agreed to a 1-1 exchange rate between East and West marks, clearing the path to a planned currency union.

In 1991, Virgilio Pablo Paz Romero was arrested for the 1976 car-bomb killing of Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier in Washington.

In 1992, McDonald's opened its first restaurant in Beijing.

In 1993, United Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez died at age 66 of apparent natural causes.


In 2002, Pope John Paul II met at the Vatican with U.S. cardinals to discuss the sexual abuse scandal that had rocked the Roman Catholic clergy. He expressed an apology to victims of abuse, saying what had happened to them was a crime and "an appalling act in the eyes of God."

In 2003, after a 10-day stalemate, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat reached agreement on a new Cabinet with his choice for prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2006, Hungary's Socialist-Liberal coalition recaptured government control by a comfortable majority in parliamentary elections.

In 2007, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who faced down army tanks during the fall of the Soviet Union, died of cardiac arrest at the age of 76.

Also in 2007, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he was ordering a halt to construction of a wall separating a Sunni neighborhood from other parts of Baghdad.

In 2008, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, top U.S. military official in Iraq, was promoted to head of Central Command, overseeing military affairs in the Middle East and Central Asia, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He succeeds Adm. William Fallon, who recently retired from the post.

A thought for the day: Douglas Adams observed, "I may not have gone where I intended to go but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."


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