The Almanac

By United Press International   |   July 27, 2003 at 3:30 AM

Today is Sunday, July 27, the 208th day of 2003 with 157 to follow.

The moon is waning, in its last quarter. The morning stars are Venus, Mars, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury Jupiter and Pluto.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include French novelist Alexander Dumas the Younger, author of "Camille," in 1824; singer/actor Rudy Vallee in 1901; baseball player and manager Leo Durocher in 1905; actor Keenan Wynn in 1916; television producer Norman Lear (age 81) and trumpet/bandleader Al Hirt, both in 1922; actors Jerry Van Dyke in 1931 (age 72) and Don Galloway in 1937 (age 66); singer/songwriter Bobbie Gentry in 1944 (age 59); figure skater Peggy Fleming and actress/director Betty Thomas, both in 1948 (age 55); and singer Maureen McGovern in 1949 (age 54).

On this date in history:

In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre, the architect of the French Revolution's Reign of Terror, was overthrown and arrested by the National Convention. Robespierre who encouraged the execution, mostly by guillotine, of more than 17,000 enemies of the Revolution, was himself guillotined the following day.

In 1909, Orville Wright set a world record by staying aloft in a plane for one hour, 12 minutes and 40 seconds.

In 1921, at the University of Toronto, Canadian scientists Frederick Banting and Charles Best successfully isolated insulin--a hormone they believed could prevent diabetes--for the first time.

In 1953, after two years and 17 days of truce negotiations, an end was declared to the war in Korea.

In 1980, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, deposed shah of Iran, died in an Egyptian military hospital of cancer at age 60.

In 1986, Greg LeMond, 25, of Sacramento, Calif., became the first American to win biking's toughest contest, the 2,500-mile Tour de France.

In 1989, a Korean Air DC-10 crashed in heavy fog while attempting to land at Tripoli airport in Libya, killing 82 people, four of them on the ground.

In 1990, the retrial of Raymond Buckey, the last defendant in California's once-massive McMartin Pre-School child sex abuse case, ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors declined a second retrial and the judge dropped the charges, closing a seven-year, seven-defendant case without a single conviction.

In 1992, pop star Michael Jackson sued the British tabloid Daily Mirror over photos and an article that said he was left a "scarface" from numerous plastic surgeries.

In 1993, IBM announced the elimination of 35,000 jobs as part of a restructuring program.

In 1995, the leaders of the three largest industrial labor unions in the United States--the United Automobile Workers, the United Steel Workers of America and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers--voted to merge by the year 2000.

In 1996, a bomb exploded at Olympic Park in Atlanta during the Summer Games. One woman was killed and more than 100 people were injured.

In 2002, nine coal miners were trapped 240 feet underground in southwest Pennsylvania when a wall collapsed, inundating them with water. A daring three-day rescue operation saved them all.

Also in 2002, in one of the worst-ever air show tragedies, 83 people were killed near Lviv, Ukraine, when a jet fighter crashed amid spectators.

A thought for the day: Gustave Flaubert said, "We shouldn't maltreat our idols: the gilt comes off on our hands."

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