Today is Wednesday, July 18, the 200th day of 2012 with 166 to follow.
The moon is waning. Morning stars are Venus, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus. Evening stars are Mercury, Saturn and Mars.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray in 1811; actor Chill Wills in 1903; playwright Clifford Odets in 1906; composer, arranger, pianist Lou Busch (a.k.a. Joe "Fingers" Carr) in 1910; actor Hume Cronyn in 1911; comedian Red Skelton in 1913; actor/singer Harriet Hilliard Nelson in 1909; South African leader Nelson Mandela in 1918 (age 94); astronaut-turned-Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, in 1921 (age 91); gold medal ice skater Dick Button (age 83) and singer Screamin' Jay Hawkins, both in 1929; journalist/author Hunter S. Thompson in 1937; pop singer Dion DiMucci in 1939 (age 73); actor James Brolin and former baseball Manager Joe Torre, both in 1940 (age 72); singer Martha Reeves in 1941 (age 71); publisher Steve Forbes in 1947 (age 65); businessman Richard Branson (age 62) and Village People singer Glenn Hughes, both in 1950; country singer Ricky Skaggs in 1954 (age 58), and actors Elizabeth McGovern in 1961 (age 51), Vin Diesel in 1967 (age 45) and Kristen Bell in 1980 (age 32).
On this date in history:
In 1939, after a sneak preview of "The Wizard of Oz," producers debated about removing one of the songs because it seemed to slow things down. The song: "Over the Rainbow."
In 1976, Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci became the first person in Olympic Games history to be awarded the score of a perfect 10 in gymnastics.
In 1977, Vietnam was admitted to the United Nations.
In 1984, a gunman opened fire at a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif., killing 21 people.
In 1991, the first Ibero-American Summit Conference opened in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Also in 1991, the Yugoslav federal presidency began withdrawing troops from Slovenia.
In 1994, a car bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killed about 100 people in or near a building that housed Jewish organizations.
In 2004, the Philippines pulled its troops from Iraq, meeting a demand by kidnappers holding a Filipino hostage.
In 2005, Eric Rudolph was sentenced to two life terms for a 1998 bombing at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Ala. He also faced later sentencing in Atlanta for bombings at the 1996 Olympics and two other sites.
In 2007, officials say damage and hazardous leaks at a Japanese nuclear power plant from an earthquake this week were greater than first reported. The Tokyo Electric Power Co. said at least 50 problems had been identified at the plant in Niigata Prefecture after the 6.8-magnitude quake.
Also in 2007, former South African President Nelson Mandela formed a think tank -- The Elders -- of retired world leaders to offer guidance in global affairs. Among the dozen invited to join were former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.
And, in 2007 sports, Michael Vick, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League, was indicted on federal charges related to an illegal dogfighting operation. He was subsequently sentenced to 23 months in prison.
In 2008, Israeli authorities confirmed they had arrested six people in an alleged al-Qaida plot to kill U.S. President George W. Bush during a visit to Israel.
In 2009, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the war in Afghanistan cannot be won within the next year and could lose public support without progress by American-led forces.
In 2010, suicide bombers targeting former Sunni militants who became supporters of the Iraqi government killed at least 50 people in a pair of Baghdad attacks.
Also in 2010, 28 men died in a fire in a northwestern China coal mine. The mine owner was arrested.
In 2011, U.S. Marines Gen. John R. Allen took over as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, vowing to keep "relentlessly pressuring the enemy." Allen replaced Army Gen. David Petraeus, who became director of the CIA.
A thought for the day: Federico Fellini said: "All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster's autobiography."