The almanac

By United Press International  |  May 25, 2009 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, May 25, the 145th day of 2009 with 220 to follow.

This is Memorial Day in the United States.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include poet/philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1803; dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in 1878; aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky in 1889; Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito in 1892; heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney in 1897; humorist and publisher Bennett Cerf in 1898; actor Claude Akins in 1926; spy novelist Robert Ludlum in 1927; opera singer Beverly Sills (born Belle Miriam Silverman) in 1929; actors Dixie Carter and Ian McKellen, both in 1939 (age 70); singer/actress Leslie Uggams in 1943 (age 66); Frank Oz (born Richard Frank Oznowicz) director, actor, puppeteer (Miss Piggy of The Muppets), in 1944 (age 65); actresses Karen Valentine in 1947 (age 62) and Connie Selleca in 1955 (age 54); comedian Mike Myers in 1963 (age 46); and actress Anne Heche in 1969 (age 40).

On this date in history:

In 1787, the first regular session of the Constitutional Convention convened at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

In 1935, winding up his legendary career with the Boston Braves, Babe Ruth hit his 714th and last home run in his final game. The home run record stood for 39 years until Hank Aaron, also with the Braves, broke it in 1974.

In 1949, Chinese communist forces entered Shanghai as Nationalist troops abandoned the city and prepared to move to the island of Formosa, now called Taiwan.

In 1979, 275 people were killed when an American Airlines DC-10 crashed on takeoff from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

In 1986, 5 million people formed a broken 4,000-mile human chain from Los Angeles to New York in Hands Across America, to benefit the nation's homeless. The event raised $24.5 million.

In 1991, Cuban soldiers withdrew from Angola after 16 years of fighting South Africa and U.S.-backed rebels.

In 1993, the U.N. Security Council voted to establish a war-crimes tribunal to deal with atrocities in the civil war in Bosnia.

In 1994, after living 20 years in exile, mostly in the United States, Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to his homeland. He had been expelled after "The Gulag Archipelago," an expose of the Soviet prison camp system, was published in the West in 1974.

In 1995, the level of tension in war-torn Bosnia increased dramatically when the Serbs began taking U.N. peacekeepers hostage for use as human shields.

In 1997, mutinous soldiers seized power in Sierra Leone.

In 1999, a report by a U.S. House of Representatives committee on espionage said China stole information on the most advanced U.S. nuclear weapons.

In 2003, the Israeli Cabinet officially accepted the Palestinian claim to eventual statehood.

In 2005, Amnesty International accused the Bush administration of "atrocious" human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2006, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, former officers of Enron Corp., were convicted in Houston federal court of conspiracy and securities fraud.

In 2007, North Korea fired several missiles toward Japan in an apparent drill exercise, the Kyodo news agency reported. A government source said the missiles ''would not pose a threat to Japan-U.S. security.''

Also in 2007, the United States sent supplies to Lebanon to help government troops fighting al-Qaida-backed militants at a Palestinian refugee camp. At least 58 combatants were reported killed in what was described as the worst fighting since the country's 1975-90 civil war.

In 2008, NASA's Phoenix spacecraft made a smooth landing on Mars, completing a 9-month, 422 million-mile journey, setting down in the planet's frigid polar region where officials hoped to find water.

Also in 2008, Gen. Michel Suleiman, top man in the Lebanese military, was elected president, first move in a shared-power program approved by the government and the Hezbollah Shiite militant group and ending an 18-month political stalemate.

A thought for the day: Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "Good men must not obey the laws too well."

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