The almanac

By United Press International  |  May 19, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, May 19, the 140th day of 2012 with 226 to follow.

This is Armed Forces Day in the United States.

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 philanthropist Johns Hopkins in 1795; American-born Nancy Astor, the first woman member of the British Parliament, in 1879; Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic Turkey, in 1881; Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh in 1890; Black Muslim leader Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little; and Cambodian dictator Pol Pot, both in 1925; playwright Lorraine Hansberry ("A Raisin in the Sun") in 1930; journalist Jim Lehrer in 1934 (age 78); actor/TV talk show host David Hartman in 1935 (age 77); actor James Fox in 1939 (age 73); author Nora Ephron in 1941 (age 71); British rock star Pete Townshend in 1945 (age 67); Jamaican actor/model/singer Grace Jones in 1948 (age 64); Archie Manning, college football Hall of Fame member and father of two NFL quarterbacks, in 1949 (age 63); and rock musician Joey Ramone in 1951.

On this date in history:

In 1536, Anne Boleyn, the second of King Henry VIII's six wives and mother of Queen Elizabeth I, was beheaded.

In 1588, the Spanish Armada, assembled to invade England, set sail from Lisbon.

In 1935, renowned British soldier and author T.E. Lawrence, known as "Lawrence of Arabia," died in a motorcycle accident in England.

In 1964, it was revealed that U.S. diplomats had found at least 40 secret microphones hidden in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

In 1986, in the first direct talks between China and Taiwan in 37 years, Beijing agreed to return a cargo jet flown to the mainland by a defecting Nationalist pilot.

In 1993, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record high -- 3,500.03.

In 1994, former U.S. first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died at age 64.

In 2003, the World Health Organization said Taiwan reported 70 new cases of SARS and five more deaths, making it the most rapidly growing outbreak at the time.

In 2005, South Korean researchers said they had developed a highly efficient method for human cloning. The following day, British scientists at Newcastle University announced they had cloned their first human embryo using a method called nuclear transfer.

In 2007, China reported the latest outbreak of bird flu had led to the killing of more than 11,000 poultry in Hunan Province. Thousands of others were being checked.

In 2008, mud flows in China's earthquake-hit Sichuan province buried more than 200 relief workers. The workers were repairing damaged roads when they were engulfed by the mud flows.

In 2009, German scientists reported finding a possible ancestor of the human race, the fossilized remains of a 47 million-year-old primate.

Also in 2009, members of the British Parliament were caught up in an expense-account scandal that forced the resignation of Michael Martin, speaker of the House of Commons.

In 2010, the United States, Russia and China and others agreed to impose a fourth set of sanctions on Iran's nuclear program. Meanwhile, Iran announced a deal with Turkey and Brazil to relinquish half of the country's stockpile of nuclear fuel for a year.

Also in 2010, rioting, looting and firebombing broke out in Bangkok's business district as protesters attacked Thailand's stock exchange, its largest department store and two banks. The 2-month-plus protest that had claimed 68 lives, ended the following day.

In 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama, who imposed new sanctions against Syrian leaders, warned his counterpart in Syria, Bashar Assad, to be more moderate in governing his people and "get out of the way" if he is unwilling or unable to lead Syria to democracy. The next day government security forces fired on throngs of protesters in several cities, killing 28 people.

A thought for the day: Lots of people have written that "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," but the first person to write it in precisely those words was Margaret Wolfe Hungerford.

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