The almanac

By United Press International   |   Aug. 13, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Today is Saturday, Aug. 13, the 225th day of 2011 with 140 to follow.

The moon is full. 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 social reformer Lucy Stone in 1818; sharpshooter Annie Oakley in 1860; Scottish inventor John Baird, a pioneer in television technology, in 1888; actors Bert Lahr in 1895, Regis Toomey in 1898 and Charles "Buddy" Rogers in 1904; film director Alfred Hitchcock in 1899; bandleader Skinnay Ennis in 1909; golf Hall of Fame member Ben Hogan in 1912; actor Neville Brand in 1920; Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1926 (age 85); actor Pat Harrington Jr. in 1929 (age 82); singer Don Ho in 1930; former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders in 1933 (age 78); opera singer Kathleen Battle in 1948 (age 63); hockey Hall of fame member Bobby Clarke in 1949 (age 62); pop singer Dan Fogelberg in 1951; actor/announcer Danny Bonaduce in 1959 (age 52); and Olympic gold medal speed skater Shani Davis in 1982 (age 29).

On this date in history:

In 1889, William Gray patented the coin-operated telephone.

In 1930, Capt. Frank Hawkes set an air speed record by flying from Los Angeles to New York in 12 hours, 25 minutes.

In 1961, East Germany closed the Brandenburg Gate and prepared to start building the Berlin Wall.

In 1980, U.S. President Jimmy Carter was nominated for a second term by the Democratic National Convention in New York but lost in November to Ronald Reagan.

In 1990, singer/songwriter Curtis Mayfield was left paralyzed when he was hit by a wind-blown lighting rig on an outdoor stage in New York. He died in 1999.

In 1993, Israel agreed for the first time to negotiate with a Palestinian delegation whose members belonged officially to the PLO.

In 1994, North Korea agreed to allow U.N. monitors to inspect a secret nuclear laboratory.

In 2004, Hurricane Charley slammed into Florida's West Coast with winds of 145 mph, striking Punta Gorda and offshore islands, causing around 30 deaths and destroying or damaging 16,000 homes. The storm earlier hit Jamaica and Cuba, killing seven.

In 2004 sports, the Summer Olympic Games opened in Athens, Greece, with a record 202 countries and 10,500 athletes taking part.

In 2005, the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States decided not to allow homosexuals into the clergy.

Also in 2005, U.S. troops in Mosul, Iraq, found a suspected chemical-weapons factory containing 1,500 gallons of chemicals.

In 2006, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who spent his 80th birthday in a Havana hospital after surgery for gastro-intestinal bleeding, urged optimism but warned he might not recover. He promised Cubans he would "fight for it."

In 2008, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili accepted the cease-fire agreement to end the violent 5-day conflict with Russia. The move essentially ended Georgia's bid to reclaim South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two regions along the Russian border.

Also in 2008, the chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party was shot to death in his Little Rock office. Bill Gwatney, a former state legislator, was shot three times by a single gunman. A suspect was caught after as high-speed chase.

In 2009, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, preparing to write his memoirs, expressed disappointment with former President George W. Bush whom he said had "gone soft" and was "moving away" from him, observers said.

Also in 2009, 43 people were killed when security forces in the Philippines clashed with al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf militants in southern Basilan province.

In 2010, a reported 380 million eggs were recalled by a major U.S. egg producer in Iowa after health officials linked the firm to an outbreak of salmonella. A second Iowa egg company later recalled another 170 million eggs.

Also in 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Southwest Border Security Bill, described as a good first step toward comprehensive immigration reform, providing more agents and equipment along the U.S.-Mexican boundary.

A thought for the day: Henry James reportedly said, "Summer afternoon -- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."

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