The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Saturday, June 15, the 166th day of 2013 with 199 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include Prince Edward of England, son of Edward III and known as the "Black Prince," in 1330; Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg in 1843; composer/orchestra leader David Rose in 1910; artist Saul Steinberg in 1914; pianist Erroll Garner in 1921; U.S. Rep. Morris Udall, D-Ariz., in 1922; former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1932 (age 81); country singer Waylon Jennings in 1937; baseball Hall of Fame members Billy Williams in 1938 (age 75) and Wade Boggs in 1958 (age 55); singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson in 1941; Indian businessman Lakshmi Mittal in 1950 (age 63); and actors Jim Varney in 1949, Jim Belushi in 1954 (age 59), Julie Hagerty in 1955 (age 58), Helen Hunt in 1963 (age 50), Courteney Cox in 1964 (age 49) and Neil Patrick Harris in 1973 (age 40).


On this date in history:

In 1215, under pressure from rebellious barons, England's King John signed the Magna Carta, a crucial first step toward creating Britain's constitutional monarchy.

In 1752, Benjamin Franklin, in a dangerous experiment, demonstrated the relationship between lightning and electricity by flying a kite during a storm in Philadelphia. An iron key suspended from the kite string attracted a lightning bolt.

In 1785, two Frenchmen attempting to cross the English Channel in a hot-air balloon were killed when their balloon caught fire and crashed. It was the first fatal aviation accident.

In 1836, Arkansas was admitted to the union as the 25th U.S. state.

In 1846, the U.S.-Canadian border was established.

In 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave in Thomasville, Ga., became the first African-American cadet to graduate from West Point.

In 1904, the excursion steamboat "General Slocum" caught fire on the East River in New York, killing 1,121 people.

In 1944, U.S. forces invaded the Japanese-occupied Mariana Islands in World War II action. By day's end, a beachhead had been established on the island of Saipan.

In 1987, Richard Norton of Philadelphia and Calin Rosetti of West Germany completed the first polar circumnavigation of Earth in a single-engine propeller aircraft, landing in Paris after a 38,000-mile flight.


In 1996, 206 people were injured when a bomb exploded in a mall in Manchester, England.

In 1999, South Korean ships sank a North Korean torpedo boat, killing all aboard. The incident followed a series of confrontations in disputed territorial waters.

In 2004, a U.S. Army general suspended after prisoner abuse was revealed at a Baghdad prison said she was ordered to treat prisoners like dogs. Brig Gen. Janis Karpinski said she was being made a scapegoat for the scandal.

In 2007, a Mississippi jury convicted a reputed Ku Klux Klansman in the abductions and killings of two black teenagers 43 years earlier.

In 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed public support for the first time for a Palestinian state.

In 2011, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., shot in the head in a Jan. 8 assassination attempt at a Tucson political meeting, was released from a Houston rehabilitation hospital.

In 2012, the U.S. government announced an executive order by President Barack Obama would allow hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to legally seek work permits and obtain documents such as driver's licenses. Obama called it "a temporary stopgap measure" that lifted "the shadow of deportation from these young people."


A thought for the day: Saul Steinberg said, "Questions are fiction and answers are anything from more fiction to science fiction."

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