The almanac

By United Press International  |  June 17, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Sunday, June 17, the 169th day of 2012 with 197 to follow.

This is Father's Day in the United States.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include British clergyman John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, in 1703; Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky in 1882; Dutch artist M.C. Escher in 1898; actor Ralph Bellamy in 1904; author John Hersey in 1914; football Hall of Fame member Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch in 1923; Egyptian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei in 1942 (age 70); former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and singer Barry Manilow, both in 1943 (age 69); musician George S. Clinton in 1947 (age 65); comedian Joe Piscopo in 1951 (age 61); actors Mark Linn-Baker in 1954 (age 58), Thomas Haden Church in 1960 (age 52), Greg Kinnear in 1963 (age 49) and Jason Patric in 1966 (age 46); Olympic gold medal speed skater Dan Jansen in 1965 (age 47); and tennis star Venus Williams in 1980 (age 32).

On this date in history:

In 1967, China announced it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

In 1972, the Watergate scandal began with the arrest of five burglars inside Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington.

In 1981, a walkway collapsed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Mo., killing 144 people.

In 1982, Argentina's President Leopoldo Galtieri resigned in response to Britain's victory in the Falkland Islands war.

In 1986, Kate Smith, one of America's most popular singers in the '20s, '30s and '40s, died at the age of 79.

Also in 1986, Maryland basketball star Len Bias, about to enter the pro ranks, died of cocaine intoxication, focusing national attention on cocaine use by athletes.

In 1991, South African President F.W. de Klerk ended apartheid when he repealed the Population Registration Act that classified South Africans by race from birth.

In 1992, two Germans were released by their pro-Iranian kidnappers after three years in captivity in Lebanon. They were the last of the Western hostages to be freed.

In 1994, Los Angeles police charged O.J. Simpson with killing his ex-wife and her friend. The former football star and actor was acquitted in a controversial, high-profile criminal trial.

Also in 1994, members of the Branch Davidian cult were sentenced to prison on charges stemming from the 1993 federal raid on their compound near Waco, Texas.

In 1996, ValuJet Airlines shut down about a month after a crash in the Florida Everglades led to questions about the carrier's safety and maintenance records.

In 2003, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien promised legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage throughout the country.

In 2004, a massive car bomb killed at least 30 people and wounded 150 others in central Baghdad, two weeks before the handover of power to Iraqis.

In 2007, a fire at a Charleston, S.C., furniture store killed nine firefighters when the roof collapsed.

Also in 2007, British police said they rescued 31 children from abuse when they broke up a large international pedophile ring that stretched into 35 countries.

In 2008, negotiators for Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, reported reaching agreement on a three-step cease-fire plan to quell the violence in the region.

In 2009, in a speech to the American Medical Association, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that without action now on healthcare reform, "the rolls of the insured will swell to include millions more Americans."

In 2010, ethnic street fighting escalated in the central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan with the death toll expected in the thousands. A son of the ousted Kyrgyz president was arrested in Britain accused of plotting the riots.

In 2011, Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon and co-founder of al-Qaida, moved up a notch to assume leadership of the terrorist network six weeks after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden.

A thought for the day: Martin Luther King, Jr., said, "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

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