The almanac

By United Press International  |  April 25, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, April 25, the 116th day of 2012 with 250 to follow.

The moon is waxing. 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 Oliver Cromwell, lord protector of England, in 1599; Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the radio telegraph, in 1874; U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan in 1906; pioneer broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow in 1908; singer Ella Fitzgerald in 1917; former Harlem Globetrotters basketball player George "Meadowlark" Lemon III in 1932 (age 80); composer Jerry Leiber in 1933 (age 79); actors Al Pacino in 1940 (age 72), Talia Shire in 1946 (age 66), Hank Azaria in 1964 (age 48), Renee Zellweger in 1969 (age 43) and Jason Lee in 1970 (age 42); sports broadcaster Joe Buck in 1969 (age 43); champion skier Anja Parson in 1981 (age 31).

On this date in history:

In 1507, German geographer and mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller published a book in which he named the newly discovered continent of the New World "America" after the man he mistakenly thought had discovered it, Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci.

In 1792, "La Marseillaise," composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, became the French national anthem.

In 1859, ground was broken for the Suez Canal at Port Said, Egypt.

In 1862, Union forces captured New Orleans during the Civil War.

In 1898, the U.S. Congress formally declared war on Spain in the battle over Cuba.

In 1901, New York became the first state to require license plates on automobiles.

In 1939, Batman was introduced in DC Comics' Detective Comics No. 27.

In 1945, delegates of 46 countries gathered in San Francisco to organize a permanent United Nations.

In 1967, the first law legalizing abortion in the United States was signed into law by Colorado Gov. John Arthur Love.

In 1982, Israel turned over the final third of the occupied Sinai Peninsula to Egypt under the Camp David peace agreement.

In 1990, Hubble Space Telescope was released into space by astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery.

Also in 1990, Violeta Chamorro assumed the Nicaraguan presidency, ending more than a decade of leftist Sandinista rule.

In 1991, the United States announced its first financial aid to Hanoi since the 1960s: $1 million to make artificial limbs for Vietnamese disabled during the war.

In 1993, an estimated 300,000 people took part in a gay rights march on the National Mall in Washington.

In 1994, the Japanese Diet elected Tsutomu Hata prime minister.

In 1995, regular season play by major league baseball teams got under way, the first official action since what was then the longest strike in sports history began in August 1994.

In 2000, Vermont approved a measure legalizing "civil unions" among same sex couples becoming the first state in the nation to give homosexual couples the same legal status as heterosexual married couples.

In 2001, the Japanese Diet elected Junichiro Koizumi, a former Health and Welfare minister, as the country's prime minister.

In 2005, the crash of a Japanese commuter train near Osaka killed more than 70 people and injured more than 300 others.

In 2006, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was greeted in Athens, Greece, by masked rioters throwing gasoline bombs and stones to protest her arrival.

In 2007, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at more than 13,000 for the first time.

Also in 2007, astronomers in Chile discovered a planet they described as the "most Earth-like planet outside our solar system." Researchers said that Gliese 581 C, 20.5 light-years from Earth, had temperatures similar to Earth's and could have water.

In 2008, job losses and price hikes sent U.S. consumer confidence spiraling to a reported 26-year low in April. Experts blamed the consumer uneasiness largely on the sustained loss of jobs.

In 2009, with nearly 70 people dead and 1,000 ill with swine flu in Mexico, officials in the United States took extra precautions against the disease.

Also in 2009, Bea Arthur, who went from high-profile supporting roles on Broadway to stardom in groundbreaking TV sitcoms "Maude" and "The Golden Girls," died in Los Angeles. She was 86.

In 2010, Iran launched missiles in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz in the closing phase of its war games.

Also in 2010, Austrian President Heinz Fischer was re-elected in a landslide for a second six-year term.

In 2011, nearly 800 classified U.S. military documents leaked by WikiLeaks revealed details about the alleged terrorist activities of al-Qaida operatives held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, how they behaved and assessed for danger potential.

A thought for the day: U.S. President John F. Kennedy said: "History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside."

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