The Almanac

By United Press International   |   Aug. 26, 2004 at 3:30 AM

Today is Thursday, Aug. 26, the 239th day of 2004 with 127 to follow.

The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Saturn. The evening stars are Jupiter, Neptune, Mars and Pluto.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include British statesman Sir Robert Walpole in 1676; French scientist Antoine Lavoisier, the founder of modern chemistry, in 1743; presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth in 1838; Lee deForest, known as the father of radio, in 1873; "Charlie Chan" detective series author Earl Biggers in 1884; poet/novelist Christopher Isherwood in 1904; bacteriologist Albert Sabin, discoverer of an oral vaccine for polio, in 1906; Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman vice presidential candidate, in 1935 (age 69); jazz musician Branford Marsalis in 1960 (age 4); and actor Macaulay Culkin ("Home Alone") in 1980 (age 24).

On this date in history:

In 1883, the Dutch East Indies volcano Krakatoa began an explosive eruption that destroyed two-thirds of the island and killed 36,000 people. The blast was heard thousands of miles away.

In 1920, American women won the right to vote as the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect.

In 1964, President Johnson and Senator Hubert Humphrey were selected to head the Democratic ticket. They won in November.

In 1974, Charles Lindbergh died on this date at the age of 72;

In 1978, Cardinal Albino Luciani was elected the 263rd pope and chose the name John Paul I. He died 33 days later, on Sept. 28.

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew's deadly winds roared ashore in Louisiana bayou country.

Also in 1992, a judge in Washington declared a mistrial in the case against Clair George, the highest-ranking CIA official to be tried in the Iran-Contra scandal.

And in 1992, President Bush announced a ban on Iraqi military flights over southern Iraq to protect the Shiite Muslims. He said any planes that violate the order would be shot down by U.S.-led coalition forces.

In 1996, a court in South Korea sentenced former president Chun Doo Hwan to death for the coup that put him in power. His successor, Roh Tae Woo, was sentenced to prison for taking bribes.

In 1998, William Ritter resigned as a U.S. weapons inspector to Iraq. He said the failure to be more aggressive in the inspections constituted a surrender to the Iraqi leadership.

Also in 1998, Attorney General Janet Reno asked for a 90-day preliminary investigation into alleged campaign fund-raising phone calls Vice President Gore made from the White House. Such calls would violate a 1883 law.

In 2001, Japan's Tokyo Kitusuna defeated Apopka, Fla., 2-1, for the Little League World Series championship. The Bronx team from New York finished third but had to forfeit when it was discovered its pitcher was too old.

In 2002, Iraq will have nuclear weapons "fairly soon," Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech favoring U.S. military action.

In 2003, NASA was severely criticized on several counts by a federal board investigating the Feb. 1 Columbia shuttle disaster. The panel suggested a rescue mission could have been attempted if the space agency had moved quickly enough.

Also in 2003, the United Nations Security Council denounced as a "grave violation of human rights" the killings of Kuwaiti prisoners, believed to be in the hundreds, by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime.

A thought for the day: Sir Alan Patrick Herbert wrote, "The critical period in matrimony is breakfast-time."

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