Today is Wednesday, Aug. 1, the 213th day of 2006 with 152 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mars, Uranus, Mercury and Neptune. The evening stars are Jupiter, Venus and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include Claudius I, born in 10 B.C.; French naturalist Jean Baptiste Lamarck, known for his theory of evolution, in 1744; explorer William Clark in 1770; Francis Scott Key, composer of "The Star-Spangled Banner," in 1779; lawyer and writer Richard Henry Dana Jr., author of "Two Years Before the Mast," in 1815; author Herman Melville ("Moby Dick") in 1819; actors Arthur Hill in 1922 and Geoffrey Holder in 1930 (age 77); comic actor Dom DeLuise in 1933 (age 74); French fashion designer Yves St. Laurent in 1936 (age 71); Jerry Garcia, co-founder of the Grateful Dead rock group, in 1942; and actress Tempestt Bledsoe in 1973 (age 34).
On this date in history:
In 1498, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus set foot on the American mainland for the first time, at the Paria Peninsula in present-day Venezuela.
In 1790, the first U.S. census showed a population of 3,929,214 people in 17 states.
In 1907, an Aeronautical Division was added to the Army Signals Corps, and this forerunner of the U.S. Air Force bought its first airplane, a craft built by the Wright brothers.
In 1977, Francis Gary Powers, pilot of a U-2 pilot spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, was killed when his weather helicopter crashed in Los Angeles.
In 1981, MTV premiered with the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star."
In 1990, Muslim rebels surrendered in Trinidad and Tobago, five days after a coup in which Prime Minister Arthur Robinson and dozens of others were taken hostage.
In 1991, Israel agreed to attend a Middle East Peace conference but only if the Palestinian Liberation Organization was excluded.
In 1993, the rain-bloated Mississippi River crested in St. Louis at 49.4 feet, 2.5 feet below the top of the floodwall protecting the central part of the city.
Also in 1994, Haiti declared a state of siege following passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing an invasion of the Caribbean nation.
In 1995, Westinghouse Electric Corp. announced it was buying CBS, one day after Disney announced its purchase of Capital Cities/ABC.
In 1996, Mohammed Farah Aidid, who had controlled much of Somalia during its civil war, died of wounds suffered during a skirmish with another faction.
In 2002, the United Nations said it found no evidence to back up claims by the Palestinians that the Israeli army had massacred Palestinian refugees at a camp in Jenin.
In 2003, a suicide bomber killed at least 35 people at a military hospital in Chechnya, Russia.
In 2004, U.S. Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge said five buildings housing financial institutions in New York City; Newark, N.J.; and Washington, including the New York Stock Exchange, were reported to be terrorist targets.
Also in 2004, more than 400 people perished in a supermarket fire on the outskirts of Asuncion, Paraguay.
In 2005, bypassing U.S. Senate opposition with a recess appointment, U.S. President George W. Bush named John Bolton to be the United States envoy to the United Nations.
Also in 2005, Saudi Arabian King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, who had ruled since 1982, died in a Riyadh hospital after a long illness at the age of 83. He was succeeded by his half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah.
In 2006, Israel stepped up its offensive against Hezbollah by sending thousands of additional troops into Lebanon to attack rocket launching sites. Hezbollah responded with about 200 missiles the next day.
Also in 2006, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro underwent surgery for intestinal bleeding in Havana two weeks before his 80th birthday.
A thought for the day: in "An Enemy of the People," playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote, "A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm."