The almanac

United Press International

Today is Wednesday, May 27, the 147th day of 2009 with 218 to follow.

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 financier Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1794; social reformer Amelia Bloomer, for whom the undergarment was named, in 1818; poet Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the lyrics for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," in 1819; financier and railroad developer Jay Gould in 1836; frontiersman James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok in 1837; detective novelist Dashiell Hammett in 1894; composer Harold Rome in 1908; U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey and actor Vincent Price, both in 1911; golfer Sam Snead in 1912; author Herman Wouk in 1915 (age 94); actor Christopher Lee in 1922 (age 87); former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1923 (age 86); jazz musician Ramsey Lewis and actress Lee Meriwether, both in 1935 (age 74); actors Lou Gossett Jr. in 1936 (age 73) and Bruce Weitz in 1943 (age 66); singer/songwriter Don Williams in 1939 (age 70); and actors Peri Gilpin ("Frasier") in 1961 (age 48), Todd Bridges ("Diff'rent Strokes") in 1965 (age 44) and Joseph Fiennes in 1970 (age 39).


On this date in history:

In 1703, Czar Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg as the new capital of Russia.

In 1930, Richard Gurley Drew received a patent for his adhesive tape, which was later manufactured by 3M as Scotch tape.

In 1937, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was opened. An estimated 200,000 people crossed it the first day.

In 1941, the British navy sank the German battleship Bismarck 400 miles west of the French port of Brest.

In 1968, the U.S. nuclear submarine Scorpion disappeared in the Atlantic with 99 men aboard.

In 1988, the U.S. Senate voted 98-5 in favor of the U.S.-Soviet treaty to abolish intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

In 1990, Cesar Gaviria, 34, was elected president of Colombia after a campaign in which three candidates were killed. He vowed to make no deals with the cocaine cartels.

In 1992, hours after a Russian-brokered cease-fire went into effect in Bosnia, Serb guerrillas launched a surprise mortar bombardment on Sarajevo, killing at least 20 people and injuring up to 160 more waiting in lines to buy bread.

In 1993, U.S. sailor Terry Helvey was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to murder in the October 1992 death of gay shipmate Allen Schindler in Sasebo, Japan.


Also in 1993, five people were killed when a car bomb exploded near an art gallery in Florence, Italy. A few paintings by relatively minor artists were destroyed.

In 1996, a cease-fire was signed in the Russian republic of Chechnya.

In 1997, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the leaders of NATO nations signed an agreement clearing the way for NATO expansion to the east.

In 1999, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and four other Serbian leaders were indicted on murder and other war crimes. Milosevic went on trial in 2002 for war crimes but he died in 2006 before the trial ended.

In 2004, a federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld Oregon's law authorizing doctors to help their terminally ill patients commit suicide.

In 2005, a suicide bomb killed 19 people at a crowded Muslim shrine in Islamabad, Pakistan, on the last day of a Shiite-Sunni religious festival.

In 2006, a major earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Java, killing a reported 5,000 people and leaving an estimated 200,000 homeless.

In 2007, the bodies of 45 people were found in southern Baghdad, authorities reported. The deaths brought the total number killed in April sectarian violence in Baghdad to 631.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court approved two decisions protecting employees from retaliation when complaining about discrimination in the workplace.


Also in 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert became tangled in an investigation over alleged corruption earlier in his career. Olmert denied doing anything improper but fellow lawmakers began calling for his resignation.

A thought for the day: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, "Most people would succeed in small things, if they were not troubled with great ambitions."

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