The almanac

By United Press International  |  April 18, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, April 18, the 109th day of 2012 with 257 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 Italian Duchess Lucrezia Borgia in 1480; lawyer Clarence Darrow in 1857; conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1882; musician Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown in 1924; actors Barbara Hale in 1922 (age 90), Hayley Mills in 1946 (age 66), James Woods in 1947 (age 65), Rick Moranis in 1953 (age 59), Eric Roberts in 1956 (age 56), Jane Leeves in 1961 (age 51), Maria Bello in 1967 (age 45) and Melissa Joan Hart in 1976 (age 36); late night talk show host Conan O'Brien and actor Eric McCormack, both in 1963 (age 49); TV personality Kourtney Kardashian in 1979 (age 33).

On this date in history:

In 1506, cornerstone of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome was placed.

In 1775, American patriot Paul Revere began his famed ride through the Massachusetts countryside, crying out "The British are coming!" to rally the Minutemen.

In 1831, the University of Alabama was founded.

In 1906, an earthquake, estimated at magnitude 7.9, struck San Francisco, collapsing buildings and igniting fires that destroyed much of what remained of the city. By the time it was over three days later, almost 500 people were dead and more than 250,000 were homeless.

In 1923, Yankee Stadium opened in New York.

In 1942, U.S. planes bombed the Japanese mainland for the first time during World War II.

In 1945, journalist Ernie Pyle, America's most popular World War II correspondent, was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on the island of Ie Shima in the Pacific.

In 1949, the Republic of Ireland formally declared itself independent from Britain.

In 1980, Rhodesia became the independent African nation of Zimbabwe.

In 1983, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, was severely damaged by a car-bomb explosion that killed 63 people, including 17 Americans.

In 1992, an 11-year-old Florida boy sued to "divorce" his natural parents and remain with his foster parents. The boy eventually won his suit.

In 1993, the U.N. Security Council voted to toughen sanctions against Serbia because of its support for Bosnian Serbs trying to carve an ethnically pure state out of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In 1996, gunmen killed 18 people and wounded 15 more in an attack on tourists at the Egyptian pyramids.

In 2002, former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey, D.-Neb., revealed that at least 13 civilians were killed by his U.S. Navy unit in a Vietnamese village in 1969.

In 2004, in one of his first acts as Spain's new prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero issued orders withdrawing all 1,300 Spanish troops from Iraq.

In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court, on a 5-4 vote, upheld a 2003 law banning so-called partial-birth abortion, a procedure performed usually late in pregnancy.

Also in 2007, More than 125 people were killed in a suicide car bomb explosion near a Baghdad market.

In 2010, European airlines grounded for a fourth day by ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland conducted test flights through the thick plume that had stranded thousands of travelers and caused mounting economic losses.

Also in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI met in Malta with a group of Italian victims of sexual abuse by priests and pledged the church would seek justice against abusers.

In 2011, U.S. first couple Barack and Michelle Obama reported an adjusted 2010 gross income of $1.73 million and paid $453,770 in federal tax, the White House said. The Obamas also reported donating $245,075 to 36 charities.

A thought for the day: Edward W. Howe said, "If you don't learn to laugh at troubles, you won't have anything to laugh at when you grow old."

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