The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Wednesday, May 16, the 137th day of 2012 with 229 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include William Seward, U.S. secretary of state whose purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million was called "Seward's Folly," in 1801; banker Levi Morton, U.S. vice president under Benjamin Harrison, in 1824; David Hughes, British inventor of the microphone, in 1831; actor Henry Fonda in 1905; author Louis "Studs" Terkel in 1912; bandleader Woody Herman in 1913; entertainer Liberace in 1919; New York Yankees manager/player Billy Martin in 1928; Irish actor Pierce Brosnan in 1953 (age 59); Olympic gold medal gymnast Olga Korbut and actor Debra Winger both in 1955 (age 57); actor Mare Winningham in 1959 (age 53); singer Janet Jackson in 1966 (age 46); actor Tracey Gold and political commentator Tucker Carlson, both in 1969 (age 43); Argentine tennis player Gabriela Sabatini in 1970 (age 42); and actors David Boreanaz in 1969 (age 43), Tori Spelling in 1973 (age 39) and Megan Fox in 1986 (age 26).


On this date in history:

In 1804, the French Senate declared Napoleon Bonaparte emperor.

In 1871, U.S. Marines landed in Korea in an attempt to open the country to foreign trade.

In 1920, Joan of Arc canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1929, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the first Oscars. "Wings" was named Best Picture.

In 1969, the unmanned Soviet spacecraft Venera 5 landed on Venus.

In 1988, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop described nicotine as addictive as heroin or cocaine and called for the licensing of tobacco product vendors.

In 1991, 13 of the 15 Soviet republics agreed on an emergency economic plan to ban strikes while increasing wages and worker productivity.

In 1995, the leader of a Japanese religious cult was charged with murder and attempted murder in the March nerve-gas attacks in a Tokyo subway that killed 12 people and injured more than 5,000.

In 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton apologized for the "Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male," which was conducted from 1932-72.

Also in 1997, Mobutu Sese Seko -- who ruled Zaire for more than 30 years, allegedly looting it of billions of dollars -- fled the capital as rebel forces advanced.


In 2003, suicidal militants set off five bombs simultaneously in Casablanca, Morocco, killing 41 people and injuring about 100.

In 2005, Newsweek, after a public apology, printed a retraction to a story that accused interrogators at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay of flushing a copy of the Koran down a toilet. Riots in Afghanistan that followed the story claimed 16 lives.

Also in 2005, a U.S. Senate panel said high-ranking Russian politicians made illicit multimillion-dollar oil transactions with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein under the U.N. oil-for-food program.

In 2006, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano appointed Romano Prodi premier amid charges of election fraud from outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

In 2007, Iraqi police said a bomb northeast of Baghdad killed 32 people and injured 60 others but didn't contain chlorine gas as earlier reported.

And, British authorities decided not to send Prince Harry to serve in Iraq after hearing of threats against the prince. However, he did serve later in Afghanistan but was withdrawn after his deployment was reported.

In 2009, the Sri Lanka army drove Tamil Tiger militants from a strip of north coastal beach bringing an apparent end to a 30-year civil war.


Also in 2009, a bus collided with stationary truck loaded with diesel fuel in south Nigeria, igniting an explosion and fire that killed at least 50 people.

In 2010, former first lady Laura Bush said in a TV interview that she and her husband, former President George W. Bush, were shocked when they learned Iraq had no arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

In 2011, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands said he would seek an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi for crimes against humanity.

A thought for the day: From "H.M.S. Pinafore" comes these lines: "Things are seldom what they seem; Skim milk masquerades as cream."

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