Today is Friday, Aug. 18, the 230th day of 2006 with 135 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Saturn, Mercury, Venus and Uranus. The evening stars are Neptune, Mars, Jupiter and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include American explorer Meriwether Lewis in 1774; Chicago department store founder Marshall Field in 1834; songwriter Otto Harbach ("Smoke Gets In Your Eyes") in 1873; former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in 1917; actress Shelley Winters in 1920; former first lady Rosalynn Carter in 1927 (age 79); film director Roman Polanski in 1933 (age 73); baseball star Roberto Clemente in 1934; and actors Robert Redford in 1937 (age 69); Martin Mull in 1943 (age 63); Patrick Swayze in 1952 (age 54); Madeleine Stowe in 1958 (age 48); Christian Slater in 1969 (age 37), and Malcolm-Jamal Warner in 1970 (age 36).
On this date in history:
In 1227, Genghis Khan, the Mongol leader who forged an empire stretching from the east coast of China west to the Aral Sea, died in camp during a campaign against the Chinese kingdom of Xi Xia.
In 1587, Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents to be born in the New World, was born at Roanoke Island, part of what would become North Carolina.
In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was ratified by Tennessee, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land.
In 1940, the United States and Canada established a World War II plan of joint defense against possible enemy attacks.
In 1960, the first commercially produced oral contraceptives went on the market.
In 1963, James Meredith graduated from the University of Mississippi. He was the first African-American to attend the school and his enrollment touched off deadly riots, necessitating the use of armed guards.
In 1977, comedian Julius "Groucho" Marx, leader of the wacky Marx Brothers, died at the age of 87.
In 1982, Lebanon and the Palestine Liberation Organization approved a plan for withdrawal of PLO fighters from besieged West Beirut. Israel approved it the following day.
In 1990, U.S. warships fired warning shots over the bows of two Iraqi tankers, the first salvos of the U.S. embargo.
In 1992, a convoy of 17 buses carrying 1,000 women and children left war-torn Sarajevo in the second such evacuation from Bosnia in a week.
In 1998, in the wake of his admission of an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, U.S. President Bill Clinton was urged to resign by several members of Congress and more than 100 daily newspapers.
In 2002, Abu Nidal, one of the most feared of the Palestinian terrorists, was found shot to death, an apparent suicide.
In 2003, authorities estimated as many as 10,000 people died in heat-related deaths in France during a heat wave.
Also in 2003, Liberia's government and leaders of rebel groups signed a peace agreement, ending that nation's civil war.
In 2004, intelligence experts told a U.S. Senate panel the flaws in U.S. spy agencies cannot be fixed unless individuals who failed are made accountable.
In 2005, Dennis Rader, the Kansas man who called himself the BTK killer -- for bind, torture, kill -- and confessed to slaying 10 people, was sentenced to 10 consecutive life-in-prison terms.
A thought for the day: Georges Bernanos wrote, "The most dangerous of our calculations are those we call illusions."