The Almanac, Celebrity Birthdays, Today in History, July 12 –

Today is Thursday, July 12, the 194th day of 2012 with 172 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include Roman leader Julius Caesar in 100 B.C.; American writer Henry David Thoreau in 1817; photography pioneer George Eastman in 1854; scientist George Washington Carver in 1864; Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani in 1884; composer Oscar Hammerstein II and author-architect R. Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome, both in 1895; Chilean writer Pablo Neruda in 1904; comedians Milton Berle in 1908 and Curly Joe DeRita in 1909; bandleader Will Bradley in 1912; painter Andrew Wyeth in 1917; pianist Van Cliburn in 1934 (age 78); comedian/actor Bill Cosby in 1937 (age 75); musician Christine McVie in 1943 (age 69); exercise and diet guru Richard Simmons in 1948 (age 64); movie producer Brian Grazer in 1951 (age 61); actors Denise Nicholas in 1944 (age 68), Cheryl Ladd in 1951 (age 61), Mel Harris in 1956 (age 56) and Rolonda Watts in 1959 (age 53); and Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi in 1971 (age 41).

On this date in history:

In 1862, the U.S. Congress authorized a new award, the Medal of Honor, highest military award for valor against an enemy.

In 1933, a U.S. industrial code was established to fix a minimum wage of 40 cents an hour.

In 1962, the Rolling Stones gave their first public performance, at the Marquee Club in London.

In 1984, Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale named Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, D-N.Y., as his running mate. She was the first woman to share a major U.S. political party’s presidential ticket. They lost in November to incumbent Ronald Reagan.

In 1990, Boris Yeltsin quit the Soviet Communist Party, saying he wanted to concentrate on his duties as president of the Russian republic.

In 1991, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee accused the former ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, of misleading them about prewar meetings with Saddam Hussein.

In 1994, PLO chief Yasser Arafat and his wife took up permanent residence in the Gaza Strip.

In 1995, at least 800 people died in the Midwest and Northeast as the result of a heat wave that lasted five days.

In 1996, as part of her divorce settlement with British Prince CharlesPrincess Diana kept the princess title and received about $25 million in a lump sum followed by an income of $600,000 a year.

In 2000, the United States and Vietnam reached a trade agreement that would allow unfettered commerce between the two nations for the first time since the end of the Vietnam War.

In 2005, AIDS activists said South Africa may have the world’s largest number of human immunodeficiency virus cases, with possibly more than 6 million of the nation’s 40 million people infected.

In 2008, the U.S. government would assume the costly, exotic mortgages of 400,000 distressed homeowners under a housing crisis relief bill passed by the U.S. Senate. The measure would allow the U.S. purchase of adjustable-rate mortgages that were forcing many foreclosures.

In 2009, General Motors said part of its slimming-down process as it emerges from bankruptcy will be elimination of 400 of GM’s 1,300 top executive jobs.

In 2010, Swiss authorities rejected a U.S. request to extradite Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski, 76, to face charges he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

In 2011, Ahmed Wali Karzai, 48, a half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a powerful figure in Kandahar, was killed by a bodyguard at his home. He was seen as a critical force in volatile southern Afghanistan though accused of corruption.

A thought for the day: Henry David Thoreau said, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

The Almanac, Celebrity Birthdays, Today in History, July 12 –

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