The almanac

By United Press International  |  May 10, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, May 10, the 131th day of 2012 with 235 to follow.

The moon is waning. Morning stars are Neptune, Mercury and Uranus. Evening stars are Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and Venus.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include British statesman and scholar James Bryce in 1838; Swiss theologian Karl Barth in 1886; Max Steiner, who composed musical scores for movies, including "Gone With The Wind" and "Casablanca," in 1888; actor/dancer Fred Astaire in 1899; movie producer David O. Selznick in 1902; musician Maybelle Carter in 1909; pediatrician/author T. Berry Brazelton in 1918 (age 94); football player and broadcaster Pat Summerall in 1930 (age 82); British writer Barbara Taylor Bradford in 1933; musicians Donovan Leitch and Dave Mason, both in 1946 (age 66), and Sid Vicious in 1957; John Lennon assassin Mark David Chapman in 1955 (age 57); actors Nancy Walker in 1922, Gary Owens in 1936 (age 76) and Kenan Thompson in 1978 (age 34); U2 lead singer Bono, born Paul David Hewson, in 1960 (age 52); former astronaut Lisa Nowak in 1963 (age 49); supermodel Linda Evangelista in 1965 (age 47); race car driver Helio Castroneves in 1975 (age 37).

On this date in history:

In 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops and spent the next two years in prison.

In 1869, the "golden spike" was driven at Promontory, Utah, joining the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific lines to form America's first transcontinental railway.

In 1908, Mother's Day observed for the first time in the United States.

In 1924, J. Edgar Hoover was appointed director of the FBI, a position he held until his death in 1972.

In 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, swinging 89 army divisions around France's so-called impregnable Maginot Line. One month later, German forces entered Paris.

Also in 1940, Winston Churchill was appointed prime minister of the United Kingdom.

In 1954, "Rock Around the Clock" was released by Bill Haley and His Comets. It was the first rock 'n' roll record to reach the top on the Billboard charts.

In 1973, a federal grand jury investigating the Watergate scandal indicted former Attorney General John Mitchell and former Commerce Secretary Maurice Stans on perjury charges.

In 1984, a federal judge in Utah found the U.S. government negligent in above-ground Nevada nuclear tests from 1951 to 1962 that exposed downwind residents to radiation.

In 1994, Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president.

Also in 1994, the Michigan Court of Appeals struck down the state's ban on assisted suicide.

And in 1994, John Wayne Gacy, the convicted killer of 33 young men and boys, was executed in Illinois.

In 1995, Terry Nichols was charged in the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Timothy McVeigh earlier had been charged in the case.

Also in 1995, the World Health Organization said a mysterious disease in Zaire was caused by the Ebola virus. By the time the outbreak was declared over in late August, 244 of the 315 known victims had died.

In 2000, Pentagon officials said an investigation had concluded that the U.S. Army's highest-ranking woman had been the victim of sexual harassment from another Army general.

In 2002, former FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who had spied for the Soviet Union and Russia for more than 20 years, was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

In 2003, a record outburst of tornadoes in the Midwest and South over several days claimed 48 lives, injured hundreds of people and leveled hundreds of buildings. The total of 400 twisters was twice the previous U.S. weekly record.

In 2004, U.S. Army forces leveled the Baghdad headquarters of radical cleric Moqtada Sadr and killed 35 people.

In 2007, British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced he would leave step down June 27 after 10 years in office.

Also in 2007, Afghan officials said U.S. airstrikes killed as many as 50 civilians.

In 2009, Sri Lanka military officials denied reports that government troops killed more than 2,000 civilians in a clash with Tamil Tiger militants.

In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court to succeed the retiring Justice Paul Stevens.

Also in 2010, Benigno Aquino III, son of a former president, defeated ex-chief of state Joseph Estrada to win the Philippine presidency.

In 2011, the Mississippi River crested in Memphis, sparing the city the worst of the flooding it had feared. The river peaked at 47.8 feet, far above flood stage but 4 inches lower than predicted.

Also in 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama pushed his ideas for immigration reform and called the American immigration system "broken."

And, Israeli President Shimon Peres congratulated his country on its 63rd birthday, saying Israel proved one could create a "garden out of obstinate ground."

A thought for the day: in "Don Juan," George Gordon Byron wrote, "Adversity is the first path to truth."

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