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UPI Almanac for Thursday, May 18, 2017

Today is Thursday, May 18, the 138th day of 2017 with 227 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Persian poet Omar Khayyam in 1048; Russian Czar Nicholas II in 1868; English philosopher/mathematician Bertrand Russell in 1872; Italian operatic singer Ezio Pinza in 1892; film director Frank Capra (It Happened One Night, It’s a Wonderful Life) in 1897; composer Meredith Willson (The Music Man) in 1902; blues singer Big Joe Turner in 1911; singer Perry Como in 1912; director/screenwriter Richard Brooks (Key Largo, Elmer Gantry) in 1912; British ballet star Margot Fonteyn in 1919; Pope John Paul II, born Karol Wojtyla, in 1920; actor Pernell Roberts in 1928; actor Robert Morse in 1931 (age 86); Mad magazine cartoonist Don Martin in 1931; Baseball Hall of Fame member Brooks Robinson in 1937 (age 80) baseball Hall of Fame member Reggie Jackson in 1946 (age 71); British rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman in 1949 (age 68); country singer George Strait in 1952 (age 65); actor Chow Yun-Fat in 1955 (age 62); actor Tina Fey in 1970 (age 47); singer-songwriter Jack Johnson in 1975 (age 42).

On this date in history:

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision that determined “separate but equal” racial policies are constitutional.

In 1897, Bram Stoker published Dracula.

In 1917, President Wilson signed the Selective Service Act of 1917 by which the United States raised an army for service in Europe during World War I.

In 1933, the U.S. Congress created the Tennessee Valley Authority for flood control and rural electrification.

In 1944, Allied troops captured Monte Cassino in Italy after one of the longest and bloodiest battles of World War II.

In 1979, a U.S. court jury in Oklahoma City awarded $ 10.5 million to the estate of Karen Silkwood, a laboratory technician contaminated by radiation at a Kerr-McGee plutonium plant in 1974.

In 1980, Mount St. Helens in southwestern Washington state erupted, blowing the top off the mountain and killing 57 people.

In 1990, East and West Germany signed a treaty for economic, monetary and social union. West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said the pact marked the “birth of a free and unified Germany.”

In 1991, chemist Helen Sharman became the first Briton in space when she blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Soviet spacecraft.

In 1992, bandleader Lawrence Welk, whose bubbly champagne dance music brought him wide popularity, died at age 89.

In 2004, Randy Johnson, Arizona’s 40-year-old left-hander, pitched a perfect game in a 2-0 win over Atlanta. He was the oldest major league pitcher to accomplish the feat.

In 2009, the Hubble Space Telescope was returned to orbit after astronauts finished five spacewalks in a mission to repair and refurbish the 19-year-old instrument.

In 2011, a USA Today-Gallup poll indicated 63 percent of voters said most members of Congress didn’t deserve to be returned to office.

In 2012, Facebook Inc. had its first day of public trading.

In 2013, a car ran into a crowd during a festival in Damascus, Va., injuring up to 60 people.

In 2014, AT&T announced it agreed to buy DirecTV for $ 48.5 billion.

A thought for the day: “Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children.” — Princess Diana

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