The almanac

By United Press International  |  April 17, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Tuesday, April 17, the 108th day of 2012 with 258 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include American industrialist and financier J.P. Morgan in 1837; baseball Hall of Fame member Cap Anson in 1852; Danish author Karen Blixen ("Out of Africa"), who wrote under the name Isak Dinesen, in 1885; Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1894; novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder in 1897; actor William Holden in 1918; television journalist Harry Reasoner in 1923; music promoter Don Kirshner in 1934 (age 78); musician Jan Hammer in 1948 (age 64); actors Olivia Hussey in 1951 (age 61), Sean Bean in 1959 (age 53) and Henry Ian Cusick in 1967 (age 45); musician Liz Phair in 1967 (age 45); and singer Victoria Beckham in 1974 (age 38).

On this date in history:

In 1421, the sea broke the dikes at Dort, Holland, drowning an estimated 100,000 people.

In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church after refusing to admit to charges of heresy.

In 1524, Italian navigator Giovanni Verrazano discovered New York Harbor.

In 1790, American statesman, printer, scientist and writer Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia at age 84.

In 1961, a force of anti-Castro Cuban rebels began the "Bay of Pigs" attempt to overthrow Cuba's new Communist government.

In 1964, Jerrie Mock of Columbus, Ohio, became the first woman to complete a solo flight around the world.

In 1970, with the world anxiously watching via television, Apollo 13, a U.S. lunar spacecraft that suffered a severe malfunction on its journey to the moon, safely returned to Earth.

In 1989, the Polish labor union Solidarity was granted legal status after nearly a decade of struggle and suppression, clearing the way for the downfall of Poland's Communist Party.

In 1991, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at more than 3,000 for the first time.

In 1993, a federal court jury convicted two Los Angeles police officers of violating Rodney King's civil rights in the black motorist's 1991 arrest and beating.

In 2001, Mississippi voters, by a 2-1 ratio, decided to keep their state flag, which includes the Confederate battle cross in the upper left-hand corner.

In 2003, billionaire philanthropist John Paul Getty Jr. died in London at the age of 70.

In 2004, the U.S. General Accounting Office, looking into the oil-for-food program, administered by the U.N. for Iraq, estimated the Saddam Hussein regime collected more than $11 billion in kickbacks and illegal sales.

Also in 2004, the Israeli army confirmed it had killed Hamas leader, Abdel Aziz Rantissi, who had headed the militant group less than a month after his predecessor also was assassinated.

In 2006, former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, was convicted of 18 felony counts, including racketeering conspiracy and tax and mail fraud.

Also in 2006, at least 63 people were killed when a bus carrying Mexican tourists plunged nearly 800 feet off a cliff in eastern Mexico between Vera Cruz and Mexico City.

In 2008, during his first papal visit to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI included a recurring theme in his remarks about the scandal that grew from allegations of child abuse by Roman Catholic priests. He said he was "deeply ashamed" and in a surprise gesture, met with several victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Boston archdiocese.

Also in 2008, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest during a tribal leader's funeral in northern Iraq, killing at least 50 people, authorities said.

In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration reportedly cleared the way to regulate greenhouse gas omissions by declaring officially for the first time that carbon dioxide, methane and four other gases emit air pollution "that may endanger public health or welfare."

In 2010, vandals spray-painted graffiti on Rio de Janeiro's colossal Christ The Redeemer statue in the first such incident since it opened in 1931.

In 2011, human rights groups accused Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces of using indiscriminate cluster bombs to battle rebels in a residential area.

Also in 2011, the election of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, a non-Muslim and former vice president who succeeded the late incumbent, touched off three days of rioting that killed a reported 800-plus people. Many Muslims had expected Jonathan to step down after the election.

A thought for the day: Rudyard Kipling wrote, "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."

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