The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Tuesday, May 12, the 132nd day of 2009 with 233 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Edward Lear, an English painter and writer of limericks and nonsense poems, in 1812; nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale in 1820; French composer Jules Emile Massenet in 1842; lawmaker and author Henry Cabot Lodge in 1850; novelist Philip Wylie in 1902; actress Katharine Hepburn in 1907; orchestra leader Gordon Jenkins and jazz trombonist Jack Jenney in 1910; newscaster Howard K. Smith in 1914; convicted spy Julius Rosenberg in 1918 (executed with his wife on June 19, 1953); baseball Hall of Fame member Yogi Berra in 1925 (age 84); composer Burt Bacharach in 1928 (age 81); TV personality Tom Snyder and artist Frank Stella (age 73), both in 1936; comedian George Carlin in 1937; and actors Gabriel Byrne and Bruce Boxleitner ("Babylon 5") in 1950 (age 59), Ving Rhames in 1959 (age 50), Emilio Estevez in 1962 (age 47), Stephen Baldwin in 1966 (age 43), Kim Fields in 1969 (age 40); and Jason Biggs in 1978 (age 31).


On this date in history:

In 1922, the magazine "Radio Broadcast" commented, "The rate of increase in the number who spend at least part of an evening listening to radio is almost incomprehensible."

In 1937, George VI was crowned king of England, succeeding his brother Edward, who abdicated to marry U.S. divorcee Wallis Simpson.

In 1949, Soviet authorities announced the end of a land blockade of Berlin. The blockade lasted 328 days but was neutralized by the Allies' Berlin airlift.

In 1970, the U.S. Senate confirmed U.S. President Richard Nixon's nomination of U.S. District Judge Harry A. Blackmun to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1975, a Cambodian gunboat fired on the U.S. cargo ship Mayaguez and forced it into a Cambodian port. All 39 crewmen aboard were freed but a number of U.S. servicemen died during a rescue mission two days later.

In 1991, Operation Sea Angel sent 8,000 U.S. troops to Bangladesh to distribute relief packages to cyclone victims.

In 2002, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter began a visit to Cuba. He was the first president, in or out of office, to visit the island since communists took over in 1959.

In 2003, U.S. officials in Iraq reported the capture of Rihab Rashjid Taha, nicknamed Dr. Germ, who played a major role in Iraq's biological weapons program.


Also in 2003, at least 59 people died and six apartment houses were destroyed when a truck laden with explosives blew up in a town in Chechnya where a revolt against Russia continued.

In 2004, a Massachusetts Roman Catholic order was sued by nine former students of one of its schools, the Boston School for the Deaf, for alleged abuse that happened as long as 60 years ago.

In 2006, as many as 200 people were killed in a Nigerian gasoline pipeline explosion that officials said apparently was set off by vandals siphoning fuel.

Also in 2006, Daniel Biechele, a man whose fireworks touched off the 2003 nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I., that killed 100 people, was sentenced to four years in prison. The judge said there was no sign of criminal intent.

In 2007, about 100,000 people attended a "Family Day" rally in Rome to protest a move that would grant more rights to same-sex and unmarried couples in Italy.

In 2008, China's deadliest earthquake in three decades killed a reported 69,000-plus with nearly 18,000 missing and millions homeless. Measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale, the quake rocked Sichuan Province in southwestern China and followed with what officials said were thousands of aftershocks.


Also in 2008, U.S. immigration agents raided a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, arresting 389 immigration workers. Federal officers said it was the biggest immigration enforcement operation ever at a single U.S. workplace.

A thought for the day: Mark Twain remarked, "I never let schooling interfere with my education."

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