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Pretzel Day-KALW Almanac-4/26/2016

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  • 117th Day of 2016 249 Remaining
  • Summer Begins in 55 Days
  • Sunrise: 6:17
  • Sunset: 7:56
  • 13 Hours 39 Minutes
  • Moon Rise: 12:02am(Wednesday)
  • Moon Set: 9:34am
  • Phase: 83% 19 Days
  • Next Full Moon May 21 @ 2:16pm
  • In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name Full Flower Moon. Other names include the Full Corn Planting Moon, or the Milk Moon.
  • Tides
  • High: 1:25am/3:23pm
  • Low: 8:18am/8:15pm
  • Holidays
  • National Pretzel Day
  • School Bus Drivers Day
  • Audubon Day
  • Hug A Friend Day
  • National Help A Horse Day
  • National Kids And Pets Day
  • National Richter Scale Day
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  • World Intellectual Property Day
  • Union Day-Tanzania
  • On This Day
  • 1607 --- The British established an American colony at Cape Henry, Virginia. It was the first permanent English establishment in the Western Hemisphere. 
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  • 1865 --- John Wilkes Booth is killed when Union soldiers track him down to a Virginia farm 12 days after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. After shooting Lincoln, Booth jumped to the stage below Lincoln’s box seat. He landed hard, breaking his leg, before escaping to a waiting horse behind the theater. Many in the audience recognized Booth, so the army was soon hot on his trail. Booth and his accomplice, David Herold, made their way across the Anacostia River and headed toward southern Maryland. The pair stopped at Dr. Samuel Mudd’s home, and Mudd treated Booth’s leg. This earned Mudd a life sentence in prison when he was implicated as part of the conspiracy, but the sentence was later commuted. Booth found refuge for several days at the home of Thomas A. Jones, a Confederate agent, before securing a boat to row across the Potomac to Virginia. After receiving aid from several Confederate sympathizers, Booth’s luck finally ran out. The countryside was swarming with military units looking for Booth, although few shared information since there was a $20,000 reward. While staying at the farm of Richard Garrett, Federal troops arrived on their search but soon rode on. The unsuspecting Garrett allowed his suspicious guests to sleep in his barn, but he instructed his son to lock the barn from the outside to prevent the strangers from stealing his horses. A tip led the Union soldiers back to the Garrett farm, where they discovered Booth and Herold in the barn. Herold came out, but Booth refused. The building was set on fire to flush Booth, but he was shot while still inside. He lived for three hours before gazing at his hands, muttering “Useless, useless,” as he died.
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  • 1877 --- Minnesota held a state day of prayer to plead for an end to a 4 year plague of Rocky Mountain locusts. In southwestern Minnesota, locusts had been eating crops, trees, tobacco, fence posts, leather, dead animals, sheep's wool - everything but the mortgage. Two days later a snowstorm moved through and the locusts were never seen again. No one knows what caused the locust plague, nor why the Rocky Mountain locust became extinct after the plague.
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  • 1937 --- During the Spanish Civil War, the German military tests its powerful new air force–the Luftwaffe–on the Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain. Although the independence-minded Basque region opposed General Francisco Franco’s Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War, Guernica itself was a small rural city of only 5,000 inhabitants that declared nonbelligerence in the conflict. With Franco’s approval, the cutting-edge German aircraft began their unprovoked attack at 4:30 p.m., the busiest hour of the market day in Guernica. For three hours, the German planes poured down a continuous and unopposed rain of bombs and gunfire on the town and surrounding countryside. One-third of Guernica’s 5,000 inhabitants were killed or wounded, and fires engulfed the city and burned for days. The indiscriminate killing of civilians at Guernica aroused world opinion and became a symbol of fascist brutality. Unfortunately, by 1942, all major participants in World War II had adopted the bombing innovations developed by the Nazis at Guernica, and by the war’s end, in 1945, millions of innocent civilians had perished under Allied and Axis air raids.
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  • 1954 --- In an effort to resolve several problems in Asia, including the war between the French and Vietnamese nationalists in Indochina, representatives from the world’s powers meet in Geneva. The conference marked a turning point in the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. Representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, France, and Great Britain came together in April 1954 to try to resolve several problems related to Asia. One of the most troubling concerns was the long and bloody battle between Vietnamese nationalist forces, under the leadership of the communist Ho Chi Minh, and the French, who were intent on continuing colonial control over Vietnam.
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  • 1954 --- The Salk polio vaccine field trials, involving 1.8 million children, begin at the Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia. Children in the United States, Canada and Finland participated in the trials, which used for the first time the now-standard double-blind method, whereby neither the patient nor attending doctor knew if the inoculation was the vaccine or a placebo. On April 12, 1955, researchers announced the vaccine was safe and effective and it quickly became a standard part of childhood immunizations in America. In the ensuing decades, polio vaccines would all but wipe out the highly contagious disease in the Western Hemisphere.
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  • 1964 --- The Boston Celtics won their sixth consecutive NBA title. They won two more before the streak came to an end. 
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  • 1975 --- B.J. Thomas had the longest title of a number one song at the top of the "Billboard" popular music chart. The song was "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song."  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SasBT98rCuY
  • 1977 --- The crowd outside 254 West 54th Street in New York City on this day in 1927 would have been waiting for the curtain of a Puccini opera. On this day in 1957 or ’67, they would have been waiting for a filming of an episode of Password or maybe Captain Kangaroo. On this day in 1977, however, the crowd gathered outside that Midtown address was waiting and hoping for a chance to enter what would soon become the global epicenter of the disco craze and the most famous nightclub in the world: Studio 54.
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  • 1984 --- President Ronald Reagan arrives in China for a diplomatic meeting with Chinese President Li Xiannian. The trip marked the second time a U.S. president had traveled to China since President Richard Nixon’s historic trip in 1972. First lady Nancy Reagan accompanied her husband to China, along with approximately 600 journalists, a slew of Secret Service agents and, according to BBC reports, officials who guard the codes for launching nuclear missiles. The Reagans toured historical and cultural sites in Beijing and attended a dinner in their honor hosted by Xiannian.
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  • 1986 --- The world’s worst nuclear accident to date occurs at the Chernobyl nuclear plant near Kiev in Ukraine. The full toll from this disaster is still being tallied, but experts believe that thousands of people died and as many as 70,000 suffered severe poisoning. In addition, a large area of land may not be livable for as much as 150 years. The 18-mile radius around Chernobyl was home to almost 150,000 people who had to be permanently relocated. The Soviet Union built the Chernobyl plant, which had four 1,000-megawatt reactors, in the town of Pripyat. At the time of the explosion, it was one of the largest and oldest nuclear power plants in the world. The explosion and subsequent meltdown of one reactor was a catastrophic event that directly affected hundreds of thousands of people. Still, the Soviet government kept its own people and the rest of the world in the dark about the accident until days later. At first, the Soviet government only asked for advice on how to fight graphite fires and acknowledged the death of two people. It soon became apparent, however, that the Soviets were covering up a major accident and had ignored their responsibility to warn both their own people and surrounding nations. Two days after the explosion, Swedish authorities began measuring dangerously high levels of radioactivity in their atmosphere. Years later, the full story was finally released. Workers at the plant were performing tests on the system. They shut off the emergency safety systems and the cooling system, against established regulations, in preparation for the tests. Even when warning signs of dangerous overheating began to appear, the workers failed to stop the test. Xenon gases built up and at 1:23 a.m. the first explosion rocked the reactor. A total of three explosions eventually blew the 1,000-ton steel top right off of the reactor. A huge fireball erupted into the sky. Flames shot 1,000 feet into the air for two days, as the entire reactor began to melt down. Radioactive material was thrown into the air like fireworks. Although firefighting was futile, Pripyat’s 40,000 people were not evacuated until 36 hours after the explosion. Potentially lethal rain fell as the fires continued for eight days. Dikes were built at the Pripyat River to contain damage from contaminated water run-off and the people of Kiev were warned to stay indoors as a radioactive cloud headed their way. On May 9, workers began encasing the reactor in concrete. Later, Hans Blix of the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that approximately 200 people were directly exposed and that 31 had died immediately at Chernobyl. The clean-up effort and the general radioactive exposure in the region, however, would prove to be even more deadly. Some reports estimate that as many as 4,000 clean-up workers died from radiation poisoning. Birth defects among people living in the area have increased dramatically. Thyroid cancer has increased tenfold in Ukraine since the accident.
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  • 2009 --- Chrysler and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union reach a tentative deal that meets government requirements for the struggling auto manufacturer to receive more federal funding. As part of the deal, the UAW agreed to let Chrysler reduce the amount of money it would pay toward healthcare costs of its retired workers. The month before the deal was announced, President Barack Obama issued an ultimatum to Chrysler that it must undergo a fundamental restructuring and shrink its costs in order to receive future government aid. Obama also gave Chrysler a month to complete a merger with Italian car maker Fiat or another partner. Although Chrysler reached a deal with the UAW as well as its major creditors shortly before the one-month deadline, Obama announced on April 30 that Chrysler, after failing to come to an agreement with some of its smaller creditors, would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, then form a partnership with Fiat. The move made Chrysler the first big automaker to file for bankruptcy and attempt to reorganize since Studebaker did so in 1933.
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  • Birthdays
  • I.M. Pei
  • Charles Richter
  • John James Audubon
  • Pete Ham
  • Bernard Malamud
  • Ma Rainey
  • Anita Loos
  • Carol Burnett
  • Duane Eddy
  • Joan Chen Jet Li
  • Jessica Lynch
  • Fanny Blankers Koen