The almanac

By United Press International  |  May 24, 2013 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, May 24, the 144th day of 2013, with 221 to follow.

The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Neptune and Uranus. Evening stars are Jupiter and Saturn.

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 75); musician Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman) in 1941 (age 72); actor Gary Burghoff in 1943 (age 70); singer Patti LaBelle (born Patricia Louise Holte) in 1944 (age 69); actors Priscilla Presley, former wife of Elvis Presley, in 1945 (age 68), Jim Broadbent in 1949 (age 64) and Alfred Molina in 1953 (age 60); singer Rosanne Cash in 1955 (age 58); and actors Kristin Scott Thomas in 1960 (age 53) and John C. Reilly in 1965 (age 48).

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 game in Major League Baseball was played at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1.

In 1958, 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 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 -- from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 over a three-year period.

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, 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.

In 2012, a U.N. report on the 14-month-old conflict in Syria said government forces once responded mainly to demonstrations but now faced armed, well-organized rebel groups bolstered by defectors who had joined them.

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

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