The almanac

United Press International

Today is Friday, April 27, the 118th day of 2012 with 248 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 English historian Edward Gibbon in 1737; philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft in 1759; Samuel F.B. Morse, American artist and inventor of magnetic telegraphy, in 1791; Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and 18th president of the United States, in 1822; Wallace Carothers, inventor of nylon, and baseball Hall of Fame member Rogers Hornsby, both in 1896; cartoonist Walter Lantz in 1899; English poet C. Day-Lewis in 1904; baseball Hall of Fame member Enos Slaughter in 1916; actor Jack Klugman in 1922 (age 90); Coretta Scott King, wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., in 1927; radio/TV host Casey Kasem in 1932 (age 80), actor Sandy Dennis in 1937; champion bowler Earl Anthony in 1938; playwright August Wilson in 1945; rock musician Ace Frehley in 1951 (age 61); basketball Hall of fame member George Gervin in 1952 (age 60); pop singer Sheena Easton in 1959 (age 53); and political journalists Dana Milbank in 1968 (age 44).


On this date in history:

In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed by natives of the Philippine islands as he attempted to be the first to circumnavigate the world. His co-leader, Juan Sebastian de Elcano, completed the voyage in 1522.

In 1749, George Frideric Handel's "Fireworks Music" was first performed.

In 1810, Ludwig van Beethoven composed "Fur Elise."

In 1865, the steamship Sultana, heavily overloaded with an estimated 2,300 passengers, most of them Union soldiers en route home, exploded on the Mississippi River just north of Memphis. The death toll in the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history was set at 1,450.

In 1937, the first Social Security payment was made in the United States.

In 1984, an 11-day siege ended at Libya's London Embassy that began with the shooting of a policewoman. Britain broke diplomatic relations with Libya over the incident.

In 1991, an estimated 70 tornadoes hit Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa, killing 23 people and leaving thousands homeless.

In 1993, Kuwait said it foiled an Iraqi plot to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush during his visit earlier in the month.


Also in 1993, the final vote tallies showed Russia's Boris Yeltsin won a solid victory in a referendum on his presidency and economic reforms.

In 1994, Virginia executed a condemned killer in the first case in which DNA testing was used to obtain a conviction.

In 2004, U.S. military units moved into positions once held by Spanish troops outside the holy city of Najaf, sparking fighting that killed some 40 insurgents.

In 2005, the U.S. State Department said the number of major international terrorist incidents more than tripled to 655 the previous year.

In 2006, a senior Israeli intelligence official said Iran has purchased missiles from North Korea with a 1,200-mile range, capable of reaching Europe.

In 2007, Saudi Arabia announced the arrest of 172 terrorist suspects in a series of raids after uncovering a plot for suicide air attacks on oil and military installations.

In 2008, police said a 73-year-old Austrian man had been accused of fathering several children with his daughter while holding her captive in a downstairs cellar for 24 years.

In 2009, General Motors announced it would cut 23,000 jobs by 2011, drop the Pontiac line and cut its dealer network by 40 percent.

Also in 2009, same-sex couples were granted the right to seek marriage licenses in Iowa. By the end of the first day, more than 200 couples had applied to be legally married.


In 2010, banking giant Goldman Sachs, going into a U.S. Senate inquiry, was accused of helping set up the mortgage meltdown that led to a global financial crisis by boosting the market for profitable toxic mortgage-related securities.

Also in 2010, the Mexican government issued a travel alert for Arizona, saying Mexican nationals could face harassment as a result of the state's new immigration law.

In 2011, a record outbreak of 358 tornadoes carved a devastating path through parts of 21 states from Texas to New York and on into Canada over a 4-day period, hitting southern states hard, particularly Alabama where a reported 249 people were killed.

Also in 2011, in an effort to put a lid on political charges that he was born outside the United States and therefore in office illegally, U.S. President Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate officially listing Hawaii as his birthplace.

A thought for the day: it was Laurence J. Peter who said, "Fortune knocks but once but misfortune has much more patience."

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