Today is Friday, April 21, the 111th day of 2017 with 254 to follow.
The moon is waning. Morning stars are Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Venus. Evening stars are Mercury, Mars and Jupiter.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Russian ruler Catherine II -- "Catherine the Great" -- in 1729; German educator Friedrich Froebel, who established the concept of the kindergarten, in 1782; British novelist Charlotte Bronte in 1816; James Starley, British inventor of the geared bicycle, in 1830; naturalist/author John Muir in 1838; German sociologist Max Weber in 1864; baseball Hall of Fame Manager Joe McCarthy in 1887; actor Anthony Quinn in 1915; British barrister/writer John Mortimer in 1923; Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 1926 (age 91); comedian/actor/director Elaine May in 1932 (age 85); actor/director Charles Grodin in 1935 (age 82); anti-death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean in 1939 (age 78); singer Iggy Pop in 1947 (age 70); actor/singer Patti LuPone in 1949 (age 68); actor Tony Danza in 1951 (age 66); actor Andie MacDowell in 1958 (age 59); Irish singer/songwriter Glen Hansard in 1970 (age 47); actor James McAvoy in 1979 (age 38); pro football quarterback Tony Romo in 1980 (age 37).
On this date in history:
In 1509, Henry VIII became king of England after his father, Henry VII, died.
In 1836, with the battle cry "Remember the Alamo!" Texas forces under Sam Houston defeated the army of Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna at San Jacinto, Texas, opening the path to Texas independence.
In 1913, California state Sen. Ernest S. Birdsall of Placer County stated in an interview with United Press that the citizens of California demanded the prohibition of "aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning farm land. The California Alien Land Law of 1913 was aimed at discouraging immigration to the state.
In 1918, Manfred von Richthofen, German World War I flying ace known as "The Red Baron," was killed by Allied fire over Vaux-sur-Somme, France.
In 1954, U.S. Air Force planes began flying French troops to Indochina to reinforce Dien Bien Phu. The city later fell to communist Viet Minh forces.
In 1960, Brasilia was inaugurated as Brazil's capital, moving the seat of government from Rio de Janeiro.
In 1967, a Greek army coup in Athens sent King Constantine into exile in Italy.
In 1975, Nguyen Van Thieu resigned as president of South Vietnam after denouncing the United States as untrustworthy. His replacement, Tran Van Huong, prepared for peace talks with North Vietnam as communist forces advanced on Saigon.
In 1987, the bombing of a bus terminal in Colombo, Sri Lanka, killed 127 people and injured 288.
In 1992, gas explosions ripped through the historic center of Guadalajara, Mexico, killing more than 200 people and injuring hundreds of others.
In 2005, the U.S. Senate approved the nomination of John Negroponte to be the nation's first national intelligence director.
In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a link had been found between contaminated drug thinners from China and 81 deaths in the United States.
In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, increasing the number of AmeriCorps community service volunteers from 75,000 to 275,000 by 2017.
In 2011, John Ensign, R-Nev., resigned his U.S. Senate seat amid a budding ethics scandal. Ensign admitted an affair with his former campaign treasurer earlier and had been under Republican pressure to step down.
In 2014, in the first Boston Marathon since the April 15, 2013, bombings that killed three people and injured 260, Meb Keflezighi became the first American man to win the race in more than three decades. Kenya's Rita Jeptoo won the women's division for the second straight year.
A thought for the day: On her website, Steffi Graf, who won 22 tennis Grand Slam titles, said, "For me, the focus and energy level that I get from physically challenging myself on a daily basis -- not to mention the obvious health benefits -- is irreplaceable."
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