The almanac

By United Press International  |  April 12, 2013 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, April 12, the 102nd day of 2013 with 263 to follow.

The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Saturn and Neptune. The evening star is Jupiter.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include American statesman Henry Clay in 1777; opera singer Lily Pons in 1898; author Beverly Cleary in 1916 (age 97); actor/dancer Ann Miller in 1923; singer Tiny Tim in 1932; jazz keyboard player Herbie Hancock in 1940 (age 73); actor Ed O'Neill in 1946 (age 67); author Tom Clancy, entertainer David Letterman and actor Dan Lauria, all in 1947 (age 66); writer Scott Turow in 1949 (age 64); actor/singer David Cassidy in 1950 (age 63); musician Pat Travers and writer Jon Krakauer, both in 1954 (age 59); actor Andy Garcia in 1956 (age 57); country singer Vince Gill in 1957 (age 56); and actors Shannen Doherty in 1971 (age 42) and Claire Danes and Jennifer Morrison, both in 1979 (age 34).

On this date in history:

In 1861, the Civil War began when Confederate troops opened fire on Fort Sumter, S.C.

In 1935, "Your Hit Parade" premiered on radio.

In 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the longest serving president in U.S. history, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs, Ga., three months into his fourth term. About 3 hours later, Vice President Harry Truman was sworn in as chief executive.

In 1955, U.S. health officials announced that the polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk was "safe, potent and effective."

In 1961, the Soviet Union launched the first manned spacecraft. Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth and return safely.

In 1981, the first U.S. space shuttle flight was launched. The flight of Columbia was the first U.S. manned space mission since July 1976.

In 1990, under pressure from environmentalists, three top U.S. tuna canneries -- Heinz, Van Camp and Bumblebee -- announced "dolphin-safe" tuna-catching practices.

In 1993, NATO warplanes began enforcing a no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina, marking the first time the alliance's forces were used outside its traditional defense area.

In 1994, Israel and the PLO agreed that 9,000 Palestinian police would be stationed in Jericho and the Gaza Strip after the Israeli military withdrawal.

In 1999, a federal judge in Little Rock, Ark., found U.S. President Bill Clinton in contempt of court for lying during his sworn deposition in January 1998, when he testified that he hadn't had sexual relations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was fined $1,202.

In 2002, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was overthrown in a military coup but was returned to office two days later riding a wave of public sentiment.

In 2003, Gen. Amir al-Saadi, Saddam Hussein's top science adviser, denied Iraq had any weapons of mass destruction and surrendered to U.S. forces.

In 2007, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., whose novels such as "Slaughterhouse-Five" resonated with a generation, died in New York at the age of 84.

In 2009, U.S. Navy SEALs rescued an American captain held hostage by pirates off the Somalia coast by killing three of the kidnappers four days after the standoff began.

In 2010, NATO troops fired on a bus after the driver failed to stop as ordered at a southern Afghanistan checkpoint, killing four people and wounding 18 others. The driver said it was too dark to recognize the soldiers.

In 2011, Japanese officials put their nuclear plant disaster, badly damaged by a massive February earthquake and tsunami, on a par with the 1986 Chernobyl plant catastrophe in Ukraine when they raised the assessment of their situation to Level 7, the highest rating on the international scale with only Chernobyl so classified.

In 2012, North Korea, defying international warnings, fired a long-range test rocket but the launch ended in failure. U.S. officials said the rocket broke up and fell into the sea.

A thought for the day: Martha Grimes said, "We don't know who we are until we see what we can do."

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