The almanac

By United Press International  |  April 14, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, April 14, the 105th day of 2012 with 261 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens, founder of the wave theory of light, in 1629; Anne Sullivan, the "miracle worker" who taught a blind and deaf Helen Keller, in 1866; English historian Arnold Toynbee in 1889; British actor John Gielgud in 1904; Haitian dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier in 1907; actors Rod Steiger in 1925 and Bradford Dillman in 1930 (age 82); country singer Loretta Lynn in 1935 (age 77); writer Erich von Daniken in 1935 (age 77); crusading New York police detective Frank Serpico in 1936 (age 76); actor Julie Christie and former baseball star and manager Pete Rose, both in 1941 (age 71); and actors Robert Carlyle in 1961 (age 51), Anthony Michael Hall in 1968 (age 44), Adrien Brody in 1973 (age 39), Sarah Michelle Gellar in 1977 (age 35) and Abigail Breslin in 1996 (age 16).

On this date in history:

In 1775, the first slavery abolition society in North America was founded by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.

In 1828, Noah Webster published his "American Dictionary of the English Language." It was the first dictionary of American English to be published.

In 1861, the flag of the Confederacy was raised over Fort Sumter, S.C., as Union troops there surrendered in the early days of the Civil War.

In 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot U.S. President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington. Lincoln died the next morning. He was succeeded by Vice President Andrew Johnson.

In 1927, the first Volvo was produced in Sweden.

In 1939, "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck was published.

In 1986, U.S. warplanes struck Libya in the biggest U.S. airstrike since the Vietnam War. Libya claimed 40 people were killed.

In 1991, 20 major paintings by Van Gogh were stolen from an Amsterdam museum by two gunmen. The paintings were found abandoned 35 minutes later.

In 1992, a federal appeals court in New York ruled that hotel magnate Leona Helmsley, 71, must go to prison for tax evasion.

In 1993, 12 top former Communist officials went on trial charged with treason in the August 1991 coup attempt that hastened the fall of the Soviet Union.

Also in 1993, violence raged throughout South Africa as hundreds of thousands of blacks protested the slaying of popular Communist Party chief Chris Hani.

In 1994, executives representing seven major tobacco companies told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee that they didn't believe cigarettes were addictive.

Also in 1994, in what was called a tragic mistake, two U.S. warplanes shot down two U.S. Army helicopters in northern Iraq's no-fly zone. All 26 people aboard, including 15 Americans, were killed.

In 1997, comedian Ellen DeGeneres revealed she was a lesbian in an interview with Time magazine.

In 2002, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in an unsuccessful effort to ease tensions with Israel and stop a wave of suicide bombings.

In 2003, U.S. military officials declared that the principal fighting in Iraq was over after Marines captured Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town.

In 2005, several indictments were handed down in the U.N. oil-for-food program. A U.S. oil trader was charged with making kickbacks to Iraqis to win contracts.

Also in 2005, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration began enforcing a ban on all types of lighters on planes and in the secure areas of airports.

And, a wave of violence in several parts of Iraq killed about 30 people over three days, focusing mostly on police officers.

In 2007, 32 people died when a bus carrying elementary school students collided with a truck on a highway in Turkey.

In 2008, major U.S. airlines Delta and Northwest agreed on a $3.1 billion merger deal.

Also in 2008, Silvio Berlusconi swept back into power in a third term as prime minister of Italy in a new election that gave him control of both houses of Parliament.

In 2009, the United States lifted restrictions on Cuban-Americans visiting relatives in Cuba. But, left intact were the trade embargo and travel restrictions for non-Cuban Americans.

Also in 2009, North Korea said it would restart its Yongbyon nuclear facility and boycott talks aimed at halting the nation's nuclear weapons program.

And, 21 people were killed and 20 others were hurt when fire swept through a hostel for the homeless in northwest Poland.

In 2010, at least 2,200 people were reported killed and an estimated 100,000 left homeless after an earthquake struck northwest China. Authorities said the quake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale.

Also in 2010, a major volcano eruption in Iceland spewed a vast amount of thick ash into the atmosphere, crippling air traffic in much of Europe for almost a week and affecting an estimated 10 million passengers and 100,000 flights.

In 2011, the Federal Aviation Administration's investigation into reports of air traffic controllers sleeping on duty at U.S. airports led to the resignation of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization chief and a number of changes including adjustment of schedules to lessen fatigue which the agency blames for the problem. The FAA was rocked by five reported sleeping instances this year, some alleged offenders working alone at the time.

Thought for the day: Abraham Lincoln said: "If there is anything that a man can do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance."

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