The almanac

By United Press International  |  April 20, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, April 20, the 111th day of 2012 with 255 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 Taurus. They include the founder of Islam Prophet Muhammad in 571; Roman Catholic St. Rose of Lima in 1586; French Emperor Napoleon III in 1808; sculptor Daniel Chester French, creator of "The Minute Man" statue, in 1850; golf pioneer "Young" Tom Morris in 1851; German dictator Adolf Hitler in 1889; silent film comedian Harold Lloyd and Spanish surrealist painter Joan Miro, both in 1893; musician Lionel Hampton in 1908; former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in 1920 (age 92); actors Nina Foch in 1924, George Takei in 1937 (age 75); Ryan O'Neal in 1941 (age 71) and Jessica Lange and Veronica Cartwright, both in 1949 (age 63); Steve Spurrier, football coach and 1966 Heisman Trophy winner, in 1945 (age 67); singer Luther Vandross in 1951; and actors Clint Howard in 1959 (age 53); Crispin Glover and Andy Serkis, both in 1964 (age 48), Carmen Electra in 1972 (age 40) and Joey Lawrence in 1976 (age 36).

On this date in history:

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell -- Puritan, revolutionary and Lord Protector of England -- dissolved Parliament to rule by decree.

In 1871, the U.S. Congress passed the Third Force Act, popularly known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, authorizing President Ulysses S. Grant to declare martial law, impose heavy penalties against terrorist organizations and use military force to suppress the Klan.

In 1902, Marie and Pierre Curie isolated radioactive radium salts from the mineral pitchblende in their laboratory in Paris.

In 1912, first baseball games were played at Boston's Fenway Park and Detroit's Tiger Stadium.

In 1916, first baseball game played at Chicago's Weehhman Park, later renamed Wrigley Field.

In 1939, Billie Holiday recorded "Strange Fruit."

In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal courts could order low-cost housing for minorities in a city's white suburbs to ease racial segregation.

In 1987, Karl Linnas, sentenced to death by the Soviets in 1962 for running a World War II concentration camp, became the first Nazi war criminal returned by the United States to the Soviet Union against his will.

In 1991, U.S. Marines crossed into northern Iraq to set up camps for Kurds seeking refuge from Iraqi civil strife.

Also in 1991, the United States announced plans to open an office in Hanoi to investigate unresolved cases of 2,278 U.S. military personnel listed as MIAs and POWs.

In 1992, Madonna signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Time Warner to form an entertainment company that would make her the world's highest paid female pop star.

In 1998, a federal jury in Chicago awarded more than $85,000 in damages to two women's health clinics that had accused abortion opponents of threats and extortion in an effort to shut them down.

In 1999, two teenage boys killed 12 fellow students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., before turning their guns on themselves.

In 2001, a U.S. missionary and her infant daughter died when their plane was fired on by the crew of a Peruvian jetfighter who thought the aircraft was carrying illegal drugs.

In 2002, Pope John Paul II, speaking on the sex scandal that had rocked the Roman Catholic clergy, said bishops must "diligently investigate accusations" against priests who broke vows of celibacy.

In 2004, 21 Iraqi detainees were killed at Abu Ghraib prison, largest facility used by U.S. troops to detain Iraqis, by mortar rounds apparently fired by anti-coalition insurgents.

In 2005, more than 50 bodies, believed to be those of hostages, were found in Iraq's Tigris River and another 20 soldiers shot to death were found near Baghdad.

In 2008, former Roman Catholic Bishop Fernando Lugo was elected president of Paraguay with 41 percent of the vote.

And in 2008 sports, Danica Patrick won the Indy Japan 300 auto race, becoming the first woman to win an IndyCar event.

In 2009, federal records said U.S. interrogators used the controversial procedure waterboarding 183 times against Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-admitted planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The Obama administration termed the practice illegal torture.

In 2010, an explosion and fire on a BP oil rig off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and unleashed a massive oil spill sending thousands of barrels of crude oil a day gushing off shore and later on beaches from Texas to Florida until stopped on June 15. Officials termed it the largest U.S. marine oil spill ever, stretching out over almost three months and releasing about 4.9 million barrels or nearly 206 million gallons of crude.

In 2011, Michel Martelly, an entertainer who performed under the name Sweet Micky, was elected president of Haiti in a runoff with former first lady Mirlande Manigat.

Also in 2011, British-born documentary filmmaker Tim Hetherington and U.S. photographer Chris Hondros were killed while covering the fighting in Libya.

A thought for the day: Richard L. Evans said, "Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was."

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