The almanac

By United Press International  |  May 1, 2013 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, May 1, the 121st day of 2013 with 244 to follow.

The moon is waning. The morning stars are Neptune and Uranus. The evening stars are Jupiter and Saturn.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Arthur Wellesley, the first duke of Wellington, in 1769; sharpshooter Calamity Jane, real name Martha Jane Cannary Burke, in 1852; U.S. Army Gen. Mark Clark in 1896; singer Kate Smith in 1907; actors Louis Nye in 1913 and Glenn Ford in 1916; television personality Jack Paar in 1918; actor Dan O'Herlihy in 1919; author Joseph Heller in 1923; game show host Art Fleming in 1924; Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter in 1925 (age 88); and singers Sonny James in 1929 (age 84); Judy Collins in 1939 (age 74), Rita Coolidge in 1945 (age 68) and Tim McGraw in 1967 (age 46); Hong Kong film director John Woo in 1946 (age 67); and jockey Steve Cauthen in 1960 (age 53).

On this date in history:

In 1786, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro" was first performed.

In 1884, construction began on the world's first skyscraper -- the 10-story Home Insurance Company building in Chicago.

In 1893, U.S. President Grover Cleveland opened the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

In 1898, during the Spanish-American war, U.S. Navy Adm. George Dewey routed the Spanish fleet in the Philippines.

In 1931, the Empire State Building was dedicated in New York City. It remained the world's tallest building for 40 years.

In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 spy plane flown by Francis Gary Powers, who was captured.

In 1971, Amtrak, the national passenger rail service that combined the operations of 18 passenger railroads, went into service.

In 1991, a record-setting day in baseball: Rickey Henderson of the Oakland Athletics stole his 939th base, making him the all-time leader; Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers pitched his record seventh no-hitter.

In 1992, U.S. President George H.W. Bush ordered 4,000 military troops into the riot-ravaged streets of Los Angeles.

In 1993, Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa and others in his entourage were killed in a suicide bomb blast.

In 1997, 18 years of Conservative Party rule in Great Britain ended with a Labor Party victory in elections, which allowed party leader Tony Blair to succeed John Majors as prime minister.

In 1999, Charismatic, a 31-1 long shot, won the 125th Kentucky Derby in Louisville. It was the third highest payoff in Derby history.

In 2001, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan was convicted in Birmingham, Ala., in a 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls. He was given four life sentences.

In 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush, speaking from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, declared that major combat in Iraq was over and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced the end of major U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan.

In 2004, the European Union added 10 member countries, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, running the total to 25.

In 2005, five men in Madain, Iraq, confessed to the kidnapping and slaying of British aid worker Margaret Hassan, who was abducted in October.

In 2008, the U.S. Congress gave final approval to a bill making it illegal for employers and insurance companies to discriminate on the basis of genetic history. It became law May 24.

In 2009, U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced he would retire from the high court at the end of the current term in June. He was on the court 19 years.

Also in 2009, U.S. government figures showed economic output fell 6.1 percent during the first three months of 2009 and unemployment reached 8.9 percent in April.

In 2010, thousands of tourists and theatergoers were evacuated from New York's Times Square area for more than 8 hours so police could disarm a malfunctioned bomb found in an SUV, parked, its motor running, smoke coming from rear vents.

Also in 2010, storms and flooding led to a reported 21 deaths in Tennessee where record rainfall totaled almost 14 inches over two days. The stormy weather also claimed lives in Mississippi and Kentucky.

In 2011, Osama bin Laden, architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States, founder of al-Qaida and the face of global terrorism, was killed in a U.S. midnight commando raid on his compound hideout near the Pakistani capital.

In 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking from Afghanistan in a televised address to Americans, said Afghans will be "fully responsible" for their security by 2014.

A thought for the day: "Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon." E.M. Forster said that.

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