The almanac

By United Press International   |   Aug. 14, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Today is Sunday, Aug. 14, the 226th day of 2011 with 139 to follow.

The moon is waning. 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 pioneer psychologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in 1840; American West figure Doc Holliday in 1851; naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton in 1860; writer Ernest Thayer ("Casey at the Bat") in 1863; English novelist John Galsworthy in 1867; writer Russell Baker in 1925 (age 86); actor Alice Ghostley in 1926; singer Buddy Greco, also in 1926 (age 85); baseball Hall of Fame member Earl Weaver in 1930 (age 81); rock musician David Crosby in 1941 (age 70); comedian Steve Martin in 1945 (age 66); actor Susan Saint James in 1946 (age 65); author Danielle Steele in 1947 (age 64); "The Far Side" cartoonist Gary Larson in 1950 (age 61); composer James Horner in 1953 (age 58); actor Marcia Gay Harden and basketball Hall of Fame member Earvin "Magic" Johnson, both in 1959 (age 52); stage soprano Sarah Brightman in 1960 (age 51); actor Halle Berry in 1966 (age 45); and football player Tim Tebow, winner of the Heisman Trophy in 2007, in 1987 (age 24).

On this date in history:

In 1784, Grigory Shelikhov, a Russian fur trader, founded the first permanent Russian settlement in Alaska on Kodiak Island.

In 1900, some 2,000 U.S. Marines joined with European forces to capture Beijing, ending the Boxer Rebellion against the Western presence in China.

In 1935, the U.S. Congress passed the Social Security Act and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt immediately signed it into law.

In 1945, U.S. President Harry Truman announced that Japan had accepted terms for unconditional surrender, ending World War II.

In 1966, the unmanned U.S. Orbiter 1 spacecraft began orbiting the moon.

In 1991, the U.S. Justice Department accused General Electric of fraud for billing the Pentagon $30 million for the non-existent sale of F-16 parts to the Israeli military.

In 1994, the notorious international terrorist known as "Carlos the Jackal" was captured in Sudan. He was extradited to France the next day.

In 1995, following a long legal battle, Shannon Faulkner was admitted to the cadet corps of the previously all-male Citadel. She resigned from the South Carolina military school four days later.

In 1996, the Republican Party nominated Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas for president to face incumbent Bill Clinton in the November election.

In 2003, a massive power failure spread through Ohio, Michigan, the Northeastern United States and eastern Canada, leaving 50 million people in eight states and the province of Ontario without electricity for as long as two days.

Also in 2003, the French Health Ministry said sweltering heat in Europe could be responsible for as many as 3,000 deaths in France.

In 2004, at least 115 people were killed by Typhoon Rananim, the 14th typhoon to hit China that year.

Also in 2004, Hutu gunmen killed at least 130 Congolese Tutsi refugees at a camp in Burundi where they came for safety from just such assaults.

In 2005, authorities say the crash of a Helios Airways plane in Greece with 121 people aboard could have been caused by a sudden drop in cabin pressure. There were no survivors.

In 2006, the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon ended in a truce, effective on this date, after 34 days of fighting.

In 2007, at least 500 people were reported killed and hundreds more were hurt when two pairs of truck bombs exploded about 5 miles apart in the remote, northwestern Iraqi towns of Qahtaniya and Jazeera.

Also in 2007, Mattel, the world's largest toy company, announced it was recalling nearly 19 million toys made in China, about half of them in the United States. Included were more than 400,000 toy cars said to be coated with lead.

And, in 2007 sports, Tim Donaghy, a former NBA referee, pleaded guilty to charges growing from a U.S. betting scandal. He was accused of selling inside game information to bettors.

In 2008, Poland agreed to allow the United States to install an anti-missile system on its soil. The move by Poland is said to be aimed at defending itself from a possible threat from Russia and to establish closer ties with the West. It also angered Russia whose leaders warned that Poland was risking retaliation.

In 2009, debate over proposed U.S. healthcare reform continued as some lawmakers, on a congressional break, reported angry crowds back home. Opponents charged the plan meant a Washington takeover of healthcare with the government "dictating" benefits.

In 2010, Pakistan's worst flooding in 80 years left 20 million people homeless, officials reported. Health workers meanwhile prepared for a possible cholera outbreak.

A thought for the day: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt said, "Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor."

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