UPI Almanac for Saturday, April 18, 2015

A devastating earthquake strikes San Francisco ... on this date in history.
By United Press International  |  April 18, 2015 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, April 18, the 108th day of 2015 with 257 to follow.

The moon is new. Morning stars are Neptune, Uranus and Saturn. Evening stars are Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and Venus.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include Italian Duchess Lucrezia Borgia in 1480; lawyer Clarence Darrow in 1857; conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1882; musician Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown in 1924; actor Barbara Hale in 1922 (age 93), actor Hayley Mills in 1946 (age 69); actor James Woods in 1947 (age 68); actor Rick Moranis in 1953 (age 62); actor Eric Roberts in 1956 (age 59); actor Jane Leeves in 1961 (age 54); talk show host Conan O'Brien in 1963 (age 52); actor Eric McCormack in 1963 (age 52); actor Maria Bello in 1967 (age 48); actor Melissa Joan Hart in 1976 (age 39); TV personality Kourtney Kardashian in 1979 (age 36).

On this date in history:

In 1506, the cornerstone was placed for St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

In 1775, American patriot Paul Revere began his famous ride through the Massachusetts countryside, crying out "The British are coming!" to rally the Minutemen.

In 1831, the University of Alabama was founded.

In 1906, an earthquake estimated at magnitude-7.8 struck San Francisco, collapsing buildings and igniting fires that destroyed much of what remained of the city. (For years, reports of the death toll varied widely. Researchers and historians eventually concluded that about 3,000 people died in the quake and its aftermath and 225,000 to 250,000 were left homeless.)

In 1923, Yankee Stadium opened in New York.

In 1942, U.S. planes bombed the Japanese mainland for the first time during World War II.

In 1945, American journalist Ernie Pyle, a popular World War II correspondent, was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on the island of Ie Shima in the Pacific.

In 1949, the Republic of Ireland formally declared itself independent from Britain.

In 1980, Rhodesia became the independent African nation of Zimbabwe.

In 1983, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, was severely damaged by a car-bomb explosion that killed 63 people, including 17 Americans.

In 1992, an 11-year-old Florida boy sued to "divorce" his natural parents and remain with his foster parents. (The boy eventually won his lawsuit.)

In 2002, former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey, D.-Neb., revealed that at least 13 civilians were killed by his U.S. Navy unit in a Vietnamese village in 1969.

In 2004, in one of his first acts as Spain's prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero issued orders withdrawing all 1,300 Spanish troops from Iraq.

In 2007, More than 125 people were killed in a suicide car-bomb explosion near a Baghdad market.

In 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Leon Panetta condemned the behavior of American soldiers photographed posing with corpses of Afghan insurgents in 2010.

In 2013, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a shooting survivor, said the Senate defeated a bill on expanded background checks for gun purchases because of "political fear and ... cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association."

In 2014, an avalanche on what is known as a particularly dangerous route to the top of Mount Everest in the Himalayas killed 16 Sherpa guides.

A thought for the day: Edward W. Howe said, "If you don't learn to laugh at troubles, you won't have anything to laugh at when you grow old."

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