The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Saturday, April 25, the 115th day of 2009 with 250 to follow.

The moon is new. 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 Oliver Cromwell, lord protector of England, in 1599; Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the radio telegraph, in 1874; U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan in 1906; pioneer broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow in 1908; singer Ella Fitzgerald in 1917; former Harlem Globetrotters basketball player George "Meadowlark" Lemon III in 1932 (age 77); and actors Al Pacino in 1940 (age 69), Talia Shire in 1946 (age 63), Hank Azaria in 1964 (age 45) and Renee Zellweger in 1969 (age 40).

On this date in history:

In 1507, German geographer and mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller published a book in which he named the newly discovered continent of the New World "America" after the man he mistakenly thought had discovered it, Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci.


In 1859, ground was broken for the Suez Canal at Port Said, Egypt.

In 1862, Union forces captured New Orleans during the Civil War.

In 1898, the U.S. Congress formally declared war on Spain in the battle over Cuba.

In 1901, New York became the first state to require license plates on automobiles.

In 1945, delegates of 46 countries gathered in San Francisco to organize a permanent United Nations.

In 1967, the first law legalizing abortion in the United States was signed into law by Colorado Gov. John Arthur Love.

In 1982, Israel turned over the final third of the occupied Sinai Peninsula to Egypt under the Camp David peace agreement.

In 1990, space shuttle Discovery astronauts released the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. The telescope was determined to be flawed, prompting another space mission to repair it.

Also in 1990, Violeta Chamorro assumed the Nicaraguan presidency, ending more than a decade of leftist Sandinista rule.

In 1991, the United States announced its first financial aid to Hanoi since the 1960s: $1 million to make artificial limbs for Vietnamese disabled during the war.

In 1993, an estimated 300,000 people took part in a gay rights march on the National Mall in Washington.


In 1994, the Japanese Diet elected Tsutomu Hata as prime minister.

In 1995, regular season play by major league baseball teams got under way, the first official action since what was the then longest strike in sports history began in August 1994.

In 2000, Vermont approved a measure legalizing "civil unions" among same sex couples becoming the first state in the nation to give homosexual couples the same legal status as heterosexual married couples.

In 2001, the Japanese Diet elected Junichiro Koizumi, a former Health and Welfare minister, as the country's prime minister.

In 2003, Chinese health officials closed a second hospital and ordered about 4,000 people in Beijing to stay home as the number of cases and deaths from severe acute respiratory syndrome continued to surge in the country.

Also in 2003, Farouk Hijazi, the former director of external operations for Iraqi intelligence and a former ambassador to Tunisia and Turkey, was arrested as a suspect in an alleged 1993 Kuwait plot to assassinate former U.S. President George H.W. Bush in Kuwait.

In 2004, hundreds of victims in the North Korea train explosion were reported being treated in an ill-equipped hospital lacking beds and medical equipment. At least 161 people were reported killed and about 1,300 others were wounded.


In 2005, the crash of a Japanese commuter train near Osaka killed more than 70 people and injured more than 300 others.

In 2006, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was greeted in Athens, Greece, by masked rioters throwing gasoline bombs and stones to protest her arrival.

In 2007, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at more than 13,000 for the first time.

Also in 2007, astronomers in Chile discovered a planet they described as the "most Earth-like planet outside our solar system." Researchers said that Gliese 581 C, located 20.5 light-years from Earth, had temperatures similar to Earth's and could have water.

In 2008, job losses and price hikes sent U.S. consumer confidence spiraling to a reported 26-year low in April. Experts blamed the consumer uneasiness largely on the sustained loss of jobs.

Also in 2008, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the United States is planning for "potential military courses of action" against Iran. Adm. Michael Mullen told reporters at the Pentagon that he expects no such conflict "in the near future" and while confrontation would be "extremely stressing" on U.S. forces it would be possible to carry out.

A thought for the day: U.S. President John F. Kennedy said: "History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside."


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