The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Sunday, April 21, the 111th day of 2013 with 254 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Russian ruler Catherine II -- "Catherine the Great" -- in 1729; German educator Friedrich Froebel, who established the concept of the kindergarten, in 1782; English novelist Charlotte Bronte in 1816; James Starley, English inventor of the geared bicycle, in 1830; naturalist and author John Muir in 1838; German sociologist Max Weber in 1864; baseball Hall of Fame manager Joe McCarthy in 1887; actor Anthony Quinn in 1915; British barrister and writer John Mortimer in 1923; Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 1926 (age 87); comedian, actor and director Elaine May in 1932 (age 81); actor/director Charles Grodin in 1935 (age 78); anti-death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean in 1939 (age 74); rock singer Iggy Pop in 1947 (age 66); actor/singer Patti LuPone in 1949 (age 64); actors Tony Danza in 1951 (age 62), Andie MacDowell in 1958 (age 55) and James McAvoy in 1979 (age 34); Irish singer/songwriter Glen Hansard in 1970 (age 43); and pro football quarterback Tony Romo in 1980 (age 33).


On this date in history:

In 735 B.C., Roman historian Varro lists this date as Romulus founding the city of Rome.

In 1509, Henry VIII became king of England when his father, Henry VII, died.

In 1836, with the battle cry "Remember the Alamo!" Texas forces under Sam Houston defeated the army of Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna at San Jacinto, Texas, opening the path to Texas independence.

In 1918, Manfred von Richthofen, German World War I flying ace known as "The Red Baron," was killed by Allied fire over Vaux-sur-Somme, France.

In 1954, U.S. Air Force planes began flying French troops to Indochina to reinforce Dien Bien Phu. The city later fell to communist Viet Minh forces.

In 1960, Brasilia was inaugurated as Brazil's capital, moving the seat of government from Rio de Janeiro.

In 1967, a Greek army coup in Athens sent King Constantine into exile in Italy.

In 1975, Nguyen Van Thieu resigned as president of South Vietnam after denouncing the United States as untrustworthy. His replacement, Tran Van Huong, prepared for peace talks with North Vietnam as communist forces advanced on Saigon.


In 1987, the bombing of a bus terminal in Colombo, Sri Lanka, killed 127 people and wounded 288.

In 1992, gas explosions ripped through the historic center of Guadalajara, Mexico, killing more than 200 people and injuring hundreds more.

In 1993, an 11-day siege at a prison near Lucasville, Ohio, ended. Ten people died.

In 1995, Timothy McVeigh, 27, was arrested 90 minutes after an Oklahoma City federal building explosion because he was driving without license plates. He was subsequently linked to the bombing in which 168 people died, was convicted and executed.

In 2004, a series of coordinated car bombings at police buildings in Basra, Iraq, killed more than 50 people, including about 20 schoolchildren.

In 2005, the U.S. Senate approved the nomination of John Negroponte to be the nation's first national intelligence director.

Also in 2005, insurgents shot down a civilian helicopter north of Baghdad, killing all 11 people aboard, including six U.S. contractors.

And, Brazil granted asylum to former Ecuadorian President Lucio Gutierrez after he was ousted from office.

In 2006, U.S. oil prices hit a record, topping $75 a barrel and the cost of regular gasoline at the pump soared to more than $3 a gallon in some parts of the United States.


Also in 2006, King Gyanendra, Nepal's embattled monarch, agreed to restore a democratic government to his country.

In 2007, an aircraft of the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels precision flight team crashed during an air show in Beaufort, S.C., killing the pilot and injuring eight people on the ground.

In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a link had been found between contaminated drug thinners from China and 81 deaths in the United States.

In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, increasing the number of AmeriCorps community service volunteers from 75,000 to 275,000 by 2017.

In 2011, John Ensign, R-Nev., resigned his U.S. Senate seat amid a budding ethics scandal. Ensign admitted an affair with his former campaign treasurer earlier and had been under Republican pressure to step down.

Also in 2011, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed tough anti-abortion legislation that bans most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, shortening the current restriction by four weeks.

In 2012, Author, evangelical leader and Prison Fellowship founder Charles "Chuck" Colson, who had been involved in the Watergate scandal and served time in prison, died in Virginia three weeks after brain surgery. He was 80.


A thought for the day: it was Marshall McLuhan who said: "There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew."

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