The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Saturday, May 12, the 133rd day of 2012 with 233 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 Edward Lear, an English painter and writer of limericks and nonsense poems, in 1812; nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale in 1820; French composer Jules Emile Massenet in 1842; lawmaker and author Henry Cabot Lodge in 1850; novelist Philip Wylie in 1902; actor Katharine Hepburn in 1907; orchestra leader Gordon Jenkins and jazz trombonist Jack Jenney, both in 1910; newscaster Howard K. Smith in 1914; businesswoman Mary Kay Ash in 1918; convicted spy Julius Rosenberg in 1918 (executed with his wife on June 19, 1953); baseball Hall of Fame member Yogi Berra in 1925 (age 87); composer Burt Bacharach in 1928 (age 84); TV personality Tom Snyder and artist Frank Stella (age 76), both in 1936; comedian George Carlin in 1937; musician Steve Winwood in 1948 (age 64); political commentator Paul Begala in 1961 (age 51); skateboarder Tony Hawk in 1968 (age 44); and actors Gabriel Byrne and Bruce Boxleitner in 1950 (age 62), Ving Rhames in 1959 (age 53), Emilio Estevez in 1962 (age 50), Stephen Baldwin in 1966 (age 46), Kim Fields in 1969 (age 43) and Jason Biggs in 1978 (age 34).


On this date in history:

In 1922, the magazine "Radio Broadcast" commented, "The rate of increase in the number who spend at least part of an evening listening to radio is almost incomprehensible."

In 1937, George VI was crowned king of England, succeeding his brother Edward, who abdicated to marry U.S. divorcee Wallis Simpson.

In 1949, Soviet authorities announced the end of a land blockade of Berlin. The blockade lasted 328 days but was neutralized by the Allies' Berlin airlift.

In 1975, a Cambodian gunboat fired on the U.S. cargo ship Mayaguez and forced it into a Cambodian port. All 39 crewmen aboard were freed but a number of U.S. servicemen died during a rescue mission two days later.

In 2002, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter began a visit to Cuba. He was the first president, in or out of office, to visit the island since communists took over in 1959.

In 2003, at least 59 people died and six apartment houses were destroyed when a truck laden with explosives blew up in a town in Chechnya where a revolt against Russia continued.

In 2004, a Massachusetts Roman Catholic order was sued by nine former students of one of its schools, the Boston School for the Deaf, for alleged abuse that happened as long as 60 years ago.


In 2006, as many as 200 people were killed in a Nigerian gasoline pipeline explosion that officials said apparently was set off by vandals siphoning fuel.

Also in 2006, Daniel Biechele, a man whose fireworks touched off the 2003 nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I., that killed 100 people, was sentenced to four years in prison. The judge said there was no sign of criminal intent.

In 2007, about 100,000 people attended a "Family Day" rally in Rome to protest a move that would grant more rights to same-sex and unmarried couples in Italy.

In 2008, China's deadliest earthquake in three decades killed more than 69,000 people with nearly 18,000 missing and millions homeless. Measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale, the quake rocked Sichuan Province in southwestern China and followed with what officials said were thousands of aftershocks.

Also in 2008, U.S. immigration agents raided a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, arresting 389 immigration workers. Federal officers said it was the biggest immigration enforcement operation ever at a single U.S. workplace.

In 2009, the European Commission fined U.S. company Intel, the world's largest computer chip maker, $1.4 billion for alleged "illegal anti-competitive practices."

In 2010, a man armed with a meat cleaver stormed into a central China kindergarten classroom and slaughtered seven children, a teacher and her mother before taking his own life. It was the fifth attack on Chinese schools in the past two months in which at least 17 people were killed and about 100 others were wounded, prompting a nationwide school security buildup.


Also in 2010, Britain set up its first coalition government since World War II with the victorious Conservatives sharing control with the ideologically opposed Liberal Democrats after none of the competing parties got enough votes in the general election to avoid a parliamentary deadlock.

In 2011, a German court sentenced John Demjanjuk, 91, to five years in prison for his role in killing 28,060 Jews as a World War II Nazi concentration camp guard in Poland. Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian, had worked for decades at a U.S. auto plant.

A thought for the day: Mark Twain remarked, "I never let schooling interfere with my education."

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