The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Tuesday, May 24, the 144th day of 2011, with 221 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include Polish inventor Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1686; French journalist and revolutionary Jean Paul Marat in 1743; British Queen Victoria in 1819; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo in 1870; hostess and party-giver Elsa Maxwell, credited with introducing the "scavenger hunt," in 1883; actor Lilli Palmer in 1914; comedian Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong in 1938 (age 73); musician Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman) in 1941 (age 70); actor Gary Burghoff in 1943 (age 68); singer Patti LaBelle (born Patricia Louise Holte) in 1944 (age 67); actor Priscilla Presley, former wife of Elvis Presley, in 1945 (age 66); actor Alfred Molina in 1953 (age 58); singer Rosanne Cash in 1955 (age 56); and actor Kristin Scott Thomas in 1960 (age 51).


On this date in history:

In 1626, the Dutch West Indies Trading Co. bought the island of Manhattan from the Indians, paying with goods worth about $24.

In 1844, the first U.S telegraph line was formally opened between Baltimore and Washington.

In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was opened to the public, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan Island.

In 1935, the first night major league baseball game saw the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1, at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.

In 1958, The United Press and the International News Service merged, forming United Press International.

In 1962, Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times.

In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled private religious schools that practice racial discrimination are not eligible for church-related tax benefits.

In 1987, 250,000 people jammed San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge on its 50th anniversary, temporarily flattening the arched span.

In 1990, the U.S. Navy reopened the much-criticized probe of the USS Iowa explosion that killed 47 sailors, citing a test that showed the blast could have been an accident.

In 1991, Israel began a mass evacuation of 14,500 Ethiopian Jews from Ethiopia to Israel. The operation took 36 hours.


Also in 1991, Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia.

In 1993, the archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, was killed at Guadalajara's airport when his car was caught in a shootout between rival drug cartels.

In 2003, residents of Kirkuk in northern Iraq went to the polls in what the U.S. commander of the region called "the beginning of the process of democratization" for the post-war country.

In 2007, the U.S. Congress voted to increase the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years, going from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 over a three-year period.

In 2008, as U.S. Sen. Barack Obama neared apparent victory in the long, close fight with Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, talk began growing about a possible Obama-Clinton ticket to face Sen. John McCain, the probable Republican nominee, in the fall election.

In 2009, the U.S. State Department said it plans to give equal benefits to same-sex partners of American diplomats, including diplomatic passports, use of medical facilities, training and travel privileges.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether prison inmates, including those on death row, can ask for DNA testing under federal civil rights law.

Also in 2010, the FBI reported that violent crime, including murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault and robbery, showed a 5.5 percent decrease in 2009, compared to the previous year. Property crimes were down 4.9 percent.


A thought for the day: Oscar Wilde wrote, "Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing."

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