The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Thursday, April 19, the 110th day of 2012 with 256 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 statesman Roger Sherman, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, in 1721; music patron Augustus Juilliard in 1836; U.S. federal agent Eliot Ness, head of the "untouchables" team that brought down Al Capone, in 1903; actors Hugh O'Brian in 1925 (age 87), Dick Sargent in 1930, Jayne Mansfield in 1933, Dudley Moore in 1935, Elinor Donahue in 1937 (age 75), Tim Curry in 1946 (age 66), Ashley Judd in 1968 (age 44), James Franco in 1978 (age 34), Kate Hudson in 1979 (age 33) and Hayden Christensen in 1981 (age 31); auto racer Al Unser Jr. in 1962 (age 50); record producer Suge Knight in 1965 (age 47); singer Dar Williams in 1967 (age 45); television personality Jesse James in 1969 (age 43); and tennis player Maria Sharapova in 1987 (age 25).


On this date in history:

In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began at the Battle of Lexington, Mass. Eight Minutemen were killed and 10 wounded in an exchange of musket fire with British Redcoats.

In 1861, one week after the Civil War began, the first Americans died, the result of a clash between a secessionist mob in Baltimore and Massachusetts troops bound for Washington. Four soldiers and 12 rioters were killed.

In 1943, Jewish residents of the Warsaw Ghetto revolted when the Germans tried to resume deportations to the Treblinka concentration camp. When the uprising ended on May 16, 300 Germans and 7,000 Jews had died and the ghetto lay in ruins.

In 1956, U.S. actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

In 1971, the Soviet Union launched its first Salyut space station.

In 1987, the first "Simpsons" cartoon appeared on "The Tracey Ullman Show."

In 1989, an explosion in a gun turret aboard the battleship USS Iowa killed 47 sailors.

Also in 1989, pro-democracy demonstrations began in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

In 1990, the U.S.-backed Contra rebels and the outgoing Nicaraguan government agreed to an immediate cease-fire and a formula to disarm and demobilize the Contras by June 10.


In 1993, the 51-day Branch Davidian standoff near Waco, Texas, ended when fire destroyed the fortified compound after authorities tear-gassed the place. Cult leader David Koresh and 85 followers, including 17 children, were killed.

Also in 1993, the governor of South Dakota and seven other people were killed in a plane crash in Iowa.

In 1994, a federal jury awarded police beating victim Rodney King $3.8 million in compensatory damages from the city of Los Angeles.

In 1995, 168 people were killed and more than 400 injured when a bomb exploded outside a federal office building in Oklahoma City.

In 1999, the German Bundestag returned to Berlin.

In 2000, a federal appeals court ruled in a high-profile case that 6-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez may stay in the United States until the court heard the full appeal from his relatives, who sought to retain custody of the boy. Eventually, he was returned to his father in Cuba.

In 2005, conservative German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, already a major power in the Roman Catholic Church, was elected pope to succeed John Paul II. He chose the name of Benedict XVI.


In 2008, Iraqi security forces gained control over a Mehdi Army stronghold in Basra with help from U.S. and British air and artillery.

In 2010, U.S. and Iraqi officials announced that a joint operation in Tikrit had killed two leaders of the insurgent group al-Qaida in Iraq, seen as a "significant step forward" in ridding the country of terrorists.

Also in 2010, the search continued for survivors of the magnitude-7.1 earthquake that staggered northwest China as rescuers battled through bitter weather and 1,200 aftershocks. The death toll eventually topped 2,000.

In 2011, air traffic control error was blamed for a "near miss" incident at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington in which a plane carrying first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, flew too close to a military cargo plane while landing.

A thought for the day: there's an anonymous saying, "Opportunity may knock only once but temptation leans on the doorbell."

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