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The almanac

By United Press International   |   Aug. 1, 2011 at 3:30 AM   |   Comments

Today is Monday, Aug. 1, the 213th day of 2011 with 152 to follow.

This is the first day of Ramadan.

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


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; activist and labor organizer Mary Harris "Mother" Jones in 1837; tennis Hall of Fame member Jack Kramer in 1921; actors Arthur Hill in 1922 and Geoffrey Holder in 1930 (age 81); comic actor Dom DeLuise in 1933; French fashion designer Yves St. Laurent in 1936; Jerry Garcia, co-founder of the Grateful Dead rock group, in 1942; rapper Coolio in 1963 (age 48); film director Sam Mendes in 1965 (age 46); and actor Tempestt Bledsoe in 1973 (age 38).


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 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 1994, Lisa Marie Presley confirmed rumors that she had married pop star Michael Jackson May 26 in the Dominican Republic. The couple divorced less than two years later.

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 supporting allegations the Israeli military had killed 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, more than 400 people died in a supermarket fire on the outskirts of Asuncion, Paraguay.

In 2005, Saudi 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 Abdallah.

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.

In 2007, an eight-lane bridge across the Mississippi River at Minneapolis collapsed during evening rush hour, killing a reported 13 people and injuring 79. About 50 vehicles were thrown into or near the water when the steel-and-concrete Interstate 35W span buckled and fell.

Also in 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to expand healthcare coverage to more than 4 million children and increase Medicare payments to doctors by 5 percent.

And, Fisher-Price announced it was recalling nearly 1 million Chinese-made toys because they were covered in potentially harmful lead paint.

In 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush signed a sweeping housing bill that gave the Treasury Department authority to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the country's two largest mortgage companies, and provide more help for homeowners to avoid foreclosure.

Also in 2008, the U.S. military judge at the trial of Osama bin Laden's former driver cleared a Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, courtroom so defense testimony could be heard in secret. Salim Hamdan was the first terror suspect to face trial at the military base.

In 2009, thousands of gays, lesbians and supporters, about 5,000 of them in Melbourne, demanded the right to marry their partners in Australian rallies held across the country.

In 2010, problems struck two coal mines in China. Seventeen people were killed and 104 injured in an explosion at the Liugou mine in northern China and 24 miners were trapped by a flood in the Yangquan mine in the northeast.

Also in 2010, a worldwide ban on cluster bombs went into effect. Usually dropped from planes, cluster bombs are filled with smaller anti-personnel bombs which are scattered over wide areas.


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."

© 2011 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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