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The almanac

By United Press International   |   Aug. 15, 2008 at 3:30 AM   |   Comments

Today is Friday, Aug. 15, the 228th day of 2008 with 138 to go.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include Napoleon Bonaparte in 1769; Scottish novelist Walter Scott in 1771; longtime Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey in 1859; actress Ethel Barrymore in 1879; novelist Edna Ferber in 1885; British soldier and writer T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") in 1888; songwriter Charles Tobias ("Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree") in 1898; composer Ned Washington in 1901; bandleader Hugo Winterhalter in 1909; chef Julia Child in 1912 ; conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly in 1924 (age 84); actor Mike Connors in 1925 (age 83); civil rights leader Vernon Jordan Jr. in 1935 (age 73); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in 1938 (age 70); journalist Linda Ellerbee in 1944 (age 64); songwriter Jimmy Webb in 1946 (age 62); Britain's Princess Anne in 1950 (age 58); and actors Debra Messing in 1968 (age 40) and Ben Affleck in 1972 (age 36).


On this date in history:

In 1914, a U.S. ship sailed from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, officially opening the Panama Canal.

In 1935, humorist Will Rogers and pilot Wiley Post were killed when their plane crashed in Alaska.

In 1947, India and Pakistan won their independence from Great Britain.

In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival opened on Max Yasgur's farm near Bethel, N.Y., drawing an estimated 400,000 people for three days of music.

In 1985, South African President P.W. Botha, rejecting Western pleas to abolish apartheid, declared, "I am not prepared to lead white South Africans and other minority groups on a road to abdication and suicide."

In 1987, more than 13.5 inches of rain drenched the Chicago area, causing more than $100 million in damage.

In 1991, the United Nations allowed Iraq to sell up to $1.6 billion worth of oil to obtain money for food and medicine.

In 1993, Pope John Paul II conducted mass for up to 400,000 people at the World Youth Day festival south of Denver.

In 1995, the Justice Department agreed to pay $3.1 million to white separatist Randall Weaver, whose wife and teenage son were killed by FBI sharpshooters during a standoff at his Idaho cabin three years earlier.

In 1998, a bomb blast in Omagh, Northern Ireland, killed 28 people and injured more than 300 others. A 29th victim died a month later. It was the worst attack in 29 years of paramilitary violence in Ulster.

Also in 1998, Pakistan handed over to Kenya a suspect who reportedly confessed to involvement in the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi eight days earlier.

In 2003, Libya admitted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, that claimed 270 lives and agreed to pay reparations that reports say could total $2.7 billion.

In 2004, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anan called on Central Africa governments to curb militias in the border areas of Burundi, Congo, Rwanda and Uganda following the massacre of more than 150 Congolese refugees, mostly women and children, in Burundi.

Also in 2004, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez survived a referendum to oust him.

In 2006, heavy fighting was reported between Sri Lankan government forces and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern part of the island country.

Also in 2006, Britain sought swift extradition from Pakistan of the reported mastermind in the alleged plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners on flights to and from the United States.

In 2007, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck 90 miles southeast of Lima, Peru, killing an estimated 500 people and injuring hundreds more.

Also in 2007, recovery workers in China found five more bodies at the site of a collapsed river bridge, raising the death toll to 34, reports said.


A thought for the day: it was Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote, "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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