The almanac

By United Press International  |  May 24, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, May 24, the 145th day of 2012, with 221 to follow.

The moon is waxing. 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 Gemini. They include Polish inventor Gabriel Fahrenheit in 1686; French journalist and revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat in 1743; British Queen Victoria in 1819; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo in 1870; H.B. Reese, inventor of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, in 1879; hostess and party-giver Elsa Maxwell, credited with introducing the "scavenger hunt," in 1883; actor Lilli Palmer in 1914; comedian Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong in 1938 (age 74); musician Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman) in 1941 (age 71); actor Gary Burghoff in 1943 (age 69); singer Patti LaBelle (born Patricia Louise Holte) in 1944 (age 68); actors Priscilla Presley, former wife of Elvis Presley, in 1945 (age 67), Jim Broadbent in 1949 (age 63) and Alfred Molina in 1953 (age 59); singer Rosanne Cash in 1955 (age 57); and actors Kristin Scott Thomas in 1960 (age 52) and John C. Reilly in 1965 (age 47).

On this date in history:

In 1626, the Dutch West Indies Trading Co. bought the island of Manhattan from the Indians, paying with goods worth about $24.

In 1844, the first U.S telegraph line was formally opened between Baltimore and Washington.

In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was opened to the public, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan Island.

In 1935, the first night major league baseball game saw the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1, at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.

In 1958, The United Press and the International News Service merged, forming United Press International.

In 1962, Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times.

In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled private religious schools that practice racial discrimination aren't eligible for church-related tax benefits.

In 1987, 250,000 people jammed San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge on its 50th anniversary, temporarily flattening the arched span.

In 1990, the U.S. Navy reopened the much-criticized probe of the USS Iowa explosion that killed 47 sailors, citing a test that showed the blast could have been an accident.

In 1991, Israel began a mass evacuation of 14,500 Ethiopian Jews from Ethiopia to Israel. The operation took 36 hours.

Also in 1991, Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia.

In 1993, the archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, was killed at Guadalajara's airport when his car was caught in a shootout between rival drug cartels.

In 2003, residents of Kirkuk in northern Iraq went to the polls in what the U.S. commander of the region called "the beginning of the process of democratization" for the post-war country.

In 2007, the U.S. Congress voted to increase the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years, going from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 over a three-year period.

In 2008, as U.S. Sen. Barack Obama neared apparent victory in the long, close fight with Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, talk began growing about a possible Obama-Clinton ticket to face Sen. John McCain, the probable Republican nominee, in the fall election.

In 2009, the U.S. State Department said it planned to give equal benefits, including diplomatic passports, use of medical facilities, training and travel privileges, to same-sex partners of U.S. diplomats.

In 2010, the FBI reported that violent crime, including murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault and robbery, showed a 5.5 percent decrease in 2009, compared to the previous year. Property crimes were down 4.9 percent.

In 2011, about one dozen tornadoes struck Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, claiming 18 lives.

Also in 2011, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a joint session of the U.S. Congress he was willing to "give up parts of the Jewish homeland," primarily the West Bank, for a Palestinian state to guarantee peace.

A thought for the day: Oscar Wilde wrote, "Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing."

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