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The almanac

By United Press International   |   Aug. 19, 2009 at 3:30 AM
Today is Wednesday, Aug. 19, the 231st day of 2009 with 134 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include English poet John Dryden in 1631; Connecticut clockmaker Seth Thomas in 1785; statesman Bernard Baruch in 1870; aviation pioneer Orville Wright in 1871; French fashion designer Coco Chanel in 1883; actor Alfred Lunt in 1892; humorist Ogden Nash in 1902; pioneer television engineer Philo Farnsworth in 1906; singing Mills Brother Harry Mills in 1913; publisher Malcolm Forbes in 1919; "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry in 1921; jockey Willie Shoemaker in 1931; actresses Diana Muldaur in 1938 (age 71) and Jill St. John in 1940 (age 69); Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the United States, in 1946 (age 63); and actors Gerald McRaney in 1947 (age 62), Adam Arkin in 1956 (age 53), John Stamos in 1963 (age 46) and Matthew Perry in 1969 (age 40).


On this date in history:

During the War of 1812, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution defeated the British frigate Guerriere in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia and earned its nickname of "Old Ironsides." Witnesses said the British shot seemed to bounce off its sides.

In 1915, two Americans were killed when a German U-boat torpedoed the British liner Lusitania in the Atlantic Ocean, an incident that helped move the United States into World War I.

In 1955, floods hit the northeastern United States, killing 200 people.

In 1960, U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers was convicted in a Moscow court and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released 18 months later and exchanged for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel.

In 1977, one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history hit the eastern Indian Ocean between Australia and Indonesia, rattling buildings in Perth, Australia, 1,000 miles to the south.

In 1987, gun enthusiast Michael Ryan went on a shooting rampage in Hungerford, England, killing 16 people.

In 1991, Soviet President Gorbachev was detained at his vacation dacha as military and KGB hard-liners staged a coup that ultimately failed.

In 1992, delegates to the Republican National Convention nominated President George H.W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle for re-election. They were defeated in November by Democrats Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

In 1993, former contra rebels in Nicaragua took a government delegation hostage. In retaliation, ex-Sandinista soldiers seized political leaders in Managua, the capital. All hostages were released by both groups by Aug. 25.

In 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton announced he was ending the 28-year U.S. policy of letting Cuban refugees take up U.S. residency if they reached the country.

In 1995, three U.S. negotiators, including U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Frasure, were killed when their vehicle plunged from a mountain road near Sarajevo, Bosnia.

In 1996, the Green Party nominated Ralph Nader as its presidential candidate.

In 2003, the U.N. representative to Iraq was among the 22 people killed when a cement mixer truck loaded with 1,500 pounds of explosives blew up at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.

Also in 2003, a suicide bomber exploded a device aboard a Jerusalem bus killing and injuring more than 100 people.

In 2004, the price of oil hit a record high of $48.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In 2005, Merck & Co, said it would appeal a Texas jury's award of $253 million in a wrongful death suit over the company's Vioxx painkiller. It was the first civil trial for the drug, pulled from the market after a study showed it could increase a risk of heart attack or stroke. In all, some 4,000 lawsuits were filed in the case.

In 2006, more than 30 people were feared dead after a boat carrying up to 200 illegal immigrants capsized and sank near Sicily, the Italian coast guard said.

In 2007, voters in Thailand approved a constitutional referendum by the military-backed government, which seized power the previous year.

Also in 2007, rescue workers were reported ending their search for six miners trapped in a Utah coal mine for nearly two weeks. Three would-be rescuers were killed in a second cave-in.

And, officials said intense heat gripping the U.S. Midwest and South contributed to the deaths of at least 47 people. Memphis endured the brunt with 10 dead.

In 2008, the resignation of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was followed by insurgent bombing attacks that killed about 100 people. One bomb blast tore through the emergency area of a hospital in northwest Pakistan while two suicide bombers set off explosions outside Pakistan's main military weapons plant north of Islamabad.


A thought for the day: Walter C. Hagen said: "You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry. Don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way."

© 2009 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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