Today is Thursday, July 16, the 197th day of 2009 with 168 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Neptune and Uranus. The evening stars are Mercury and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include English painter Joshua Reynolds in 1723; Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science Church, in 1821; Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen in 1872; actor Percy Kilbride ("Pa Kettle") in 1888; vaudeville great Blossom Seeley in 1886; actress Barbara Stanwyck in 1907; actress/dancer Ginger Rogers in 1911; actor Barnard Hughes in 1915; former Miss America/TV personality Bess Myerson in 1924 (age 85); singer/actor Ruben Blades and violinist Pinchas Zukerman, both in 1948 (age 61); and actors Phoebe Cates in 1963 (age 46) and Corey Feldman in 1971 (age 38).
On this date in history:
In 1769, the first Roman Catholic mission in California was dedicated at the site of present day San Diego.
In 1790, the U.S. Congress designated the District of Columbia as the permanent seat of the U.S. government.
In 1945, the first test of the atom bomb was conducted at a secret base near Alamogordo, N.M.
In 1959, Billie Holiday, considered one of the greatest jazz singers of all time despite a tragic life, died of cardiac failure at age 44.
In 1969, Apollo 11, the first moon-landing mission, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan was unanimously nominated as the Republican candidate for president at the GOP National Convention in Detroit. He chose George Bush as his running mate after former U.S. President Gerald Ford declined to join the ticket.
In 1990, Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev dropped his objections to a unified Germany in NATO.
In 1991, at its London summit, the Group of Seven agreed to support the Soviet Union's economic reforms and its admission to the International Monetary Fund.
In 1999, John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife and her sister were killed when their single-engine plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha's Vineyard. The son of former U.S. President John Kennedy was 39.
In 2004, Martha Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison and five months of house arrest after being found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding and making false statements to federal investigators.
Also in 2004, at least 75 children were killed in a fire that engulfed a school in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu.
In 2005, British police said a powerful explosive had been found in an apartment in the English town of Leeds, possibly related to the previous week's London bombings of three subway trains and a double-decker bus in which 54 people died and more than 700 were injured.
In 2006, leaders of the Group of Eight major economic powers criticized Israel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon for their fighting and urged them to stop. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Hezbollah had to be disarmed.
Also in 2006, North Korea said the U.N. Security Council resolution sanctioning Pyongyang for its recent missile tests was a prelude to a new Korean war.
In 2007, a reported 85 people died when a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden truck into a Kirkuk compound that housed offices of Kurdish politicians in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Also in 2007, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors verified that North Korea had shut down its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.
In 2008, a bold attack by Taliban militants on a U.S. base in Afghanistan killed 9 U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 50 NATO troops. Officials said it was the most deadly assault against U.S. troops in three years.
Also in 2008, an apparent breakthrough in efforts to negotiate a power-sharing government in Zimbabwe fizzled. Officials said the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition group, refused to sign a memorandum of understanding.
A thought for the day: From Ogden Nash: "The cow is of the bovine ilk; One end is moo, the other, milk."