Today is Wednesday, Aug. 4, the 217th day of 2004 with 149 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Venus, Uranus, Saturn and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1792; Scottish comedian Sir Harry Lauder in 1870; the dowager Queen Elizabeth, mother of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, in 1900; legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong in 1901; former UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas, in 1920 (age 84); Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in 1929 (age 75); and actors Richard Belzer in 1944 (age 60) and Billy Bob Thornton in 1955 (age 49).
On this date in history:
In 1735, freedom of the media was established in the American colonies when John Peter Zenger, publisher of a New York City newspaper, was acquitted of libel charges.
In 1914, Britain declared war on Germany, one day after Germany had declared war on France, thus beginning World War I. The United States initially declared itself neutral.
In 1944. acting on a tip from a Dutch informer, the Nazi Gestapo captured 15-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family in a sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse.
In 1949, more than 6,000 people were killed when an earthquake leveled 50 towns in Ecuador.
In 1958, Billboard magazine introduced its "Hot 100" chart, covering the 100 most popular pop singles in the country. The first No. 1 was Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool."
In 1964, the remains of three slain civil rights workers whose disappearance on June 21 garnered national attention were found buried in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Miss.
In 1984, the African Republic of Upper Volta changed its named to Burkina Faso, which means "the land of upright men."
In 1991, the PLO agreed to attend a regional peace conference and offered to compromise with Israel on the make-up of the Palestinian delegation.
Also in 1991, the Greek liner Oceanos sank off the South Africa coast in heavy seas. All 571 on board were rescued, but the captain and crew were reported to have abandoned ship.
Also in 1992, Wang Hongwen, a member of the radical "Gang of Four" that terrorized China during the Cultural Revolution, died of a liver ailment.
In 1993, a federal judge in Los Angeles sentenced former police officers Stacy Koon and Laurence Powell to 2½ years in prison for their role in the Rodney King beating.
Also in 1993, Washington lawyer Robert Altman was acquitted on charges related to the BCCI scandal.
In 1997, United Parcel Service was hit by a strike that lasted 15 days.
In 2003, the Los Angeles Times reported it had evidence that Iran was close to possessing a nuclear bomb.
A thought for the day: Charles Sanders Peirce wrote, "Every man is fully satisfied that there is such a thing as truth, or he would not ask any questions."