The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Thursday, June 4, the 155th day of 2009 with 210 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 George III, king of England during the American Revolutionary War, in 1738; actress Rosalind Russell in 1907; opera singer Robert Merrill in 1917; actors Dennis Weaver in 1924 and Bruce Dern in 1936 (age 73); radio/TV host Ruth Westheimer in 1928 (age 81); singer Freddie Fender in 1937; singer/actress Michelle Phillips in 1944 (age 65); actor Parker Stevenson in 1952 (age 57); singer El DeBarge in 1961 (age 48); and actors Scott Wolf ("Party of Five") in 1968 (age 41), Noah Wyle in 1971 (age 38) and Angelina Jolie in 1975 (age 34).


On this date in history:

In 1784, France's Marie Thible of Lyons became the first woman to fly in a hot-air balloon.

In 1896, Henry Ford wheeled his first car from a brick shed in Detroit and drove it around darkened streets on a trial run.

In 1917, the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded.

In 1940, the World War II evacuation of Dunkirk, France, was completed. A flotilla of small boats spent nearly a week crossing the English Channel to rescue nearly 350,000 British, French and Belgian troops from advancing German forces.

In 1944, Rome was liberated as the last of the German occupiers fled the Italian capital ahead of the U.S. 9th Army.

In 1972, black militant Angela Davis was acquitted of murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy charges stemming from a California courtroom shootout in which a judge and three other people were killed.

In 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Alabama minute-of-silence law as specifically fostering classroom prayer.

In 1989, in what became known as the Tiananmen Square massacre, hundreds of pro-democracy students were reported killed and thousands wounded as Chinese troops swept demonstrators from the square in Beijing.

In 1990, an Oregon woman, Janet Adkins, killed herself in Michigan using a "suicide machine" developed by "Dr. Death" Jack Kevorkian. She was the controversial retired pathologist's first reported "medicide" patient.


In 1991, Albania's Communist Cabinet resigned, ending 46 years of Communist rule.

In 1992, U.S. Postal officials announced that the young, 1950s-era Elvis Presley portrait was chosen overwhelmingly over the older, Las Vegas-style Elvis in a nationwide vote for a new postage stamp honoring "The King."

In 1998, Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his part in the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

In 1999, the Yugoslav government approved a plan, proposed by Finland and Russia and supported by the major Western nations, which would end NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

In 2003, Martha Stewart, the home decorating guru, was indicted on federal charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and securities fraud in a dispute over a stock sale.

Also in 2003, Charles Taylor, president of Liberia, was indicted for war crimes.

In 2004, U.S. President George W. Bush met in Rome with Pope John Paul II who reiterated Vatican opposition to the war in Iraq.

In 2005, the Covington Diocese in Kentucky said it had agreed to pay up to $120 million to more than 100 alleged victims of child molestation from the last 50 years.

In 2006, former Peruvian President Alan Garcia Perez regained that post in a runoff victory over Ollanta Humula Tasso.


Also in 2006, continuing violence in Iraq saw 24 people killed in two attacks, including 19 bus passengers north of Baghdad. Among them reportedly were several high school students.

In 2007, U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., accused of accepting about $400,000 from companies hoping to do business in Africa, was indicted on 16 counts including racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Also in 2007, former Liberian President Charles Taylor refused to attend the opening of his war crimes trial in The Hague where he is accused of murder, terrorism and crimes against humanity.

In 2008, one of Sen. Barack Obama's early tasks after his clinching of the Democratic presidential nomination was to pick a vice president. A poll indicated more than half of the American voters favored Hillary Clinton, Obama's vanquished foe.

Also in 2008, the two top U.S. Air Force officers, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and the service's chief of staff, Michael Moseley, were forced to step down after an investigation into the mistaken shipment of nuclear warhead fuses to Taiwan.

And, after a five-year inquiry, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said President George W. Bush and his staff repeatedly overstated evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and misled the public about ties between Iraq and al-Qaida.


A thought for the day: Oscar Wilde said, "A little sincerity is a dangerous thing and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal."

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