The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Aug. 15, 2003 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, Aug. 15, the 227th day of 2003 with 138 to go.

The moon is waning.

The morning stars are Venus, Mars, Saturn and Uranus. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include Napoleon Bonaparte in 1769; Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott in 1771; longtime Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey in 1859; actress Ethel Barrymore in 1879; novelist Edna Ferber in 1887; British soldier and writer T.E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia," in 1888; songwriter Charles Tobias ("Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree") in 1898; composer Ned Washington in 1901; chef Julia Child in 1912 (age 91); conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly in 1924 (age 79); actor Mike Connors in 1925 (age 78); civil rights leader Vernon Jordan Jr. in 1935 (age 68); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in 1938 (age 65); journalist Linda Ellerbee in 1944 (age 59); songwriter Jimmy Webb and politician Kathryn Whitmire, first woman mayor of Houston, both in 1946 (age 57); Britain's Princess Anne in 1950 (age 53); and actors Debra Messing in 1968 (age 35) and Ben Affleck in 1972 (age 31).

On this date in history:

In 1914, an American ship sailed from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, officially opening the Panama Canal.

In 1935, humorist Will Rogers and pilot Wiley Post were killed when their plane crashed in Alaska.

In 1947, India and Pakistan won their independence from Great Britain.

In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival opened on Max Yasgur's farm near Bethel, N.Y., drawing an estimated 400,000 people for three days of music.

In 1985, South African President P.W. Botha, rejecting Western pleas to abolish apartheid, declared, "I am not prepared to lead white South Africans and other minority groups on a road to abdication and suicide."

In 1987, more than 13.5 inches of rain drenched the Chicago area, causing more than $100 million in damage.

In 1991, the congressional budget office disclosed that the federal deficit would rise to a record $362 billion.

Also in 1991, the U.N. allowed Iraq to sell up to $1.6 billion worth of oil to obtain money for food and medicine.

In 1992, four people were killed and as many as 20 wounded in a shooting spree at a Caribbean nightclub near Miami.

Also in 1992, Vietnam blamed Hollywood for creating the "myth" that U.S. servicemen are being held in Indochina.

In 1993, about 400 Palestinian men who'd been deported from Israel to southern Lebanon in 1992 agreed to Israel's terms for their return.

Also in 1993, Pope John Paul II conducted mass for up to 400,000 people at the World Youth Day festival south of Denver.

In 1995, the Justice Department agreed to pay $3.1 million to white separatist Randall Weaver, whose wife and teenage son were killed by FBI sharpshooters during a standoff at his Idaho cabin three years earlier.

In 1998, a bomb blast in Omagh, Northern Ireland, killed 28 people and injured more than 300 others. A 29th victim died a month later. It was the worst attack in 29 years of paramilitary violence in Ulster.

Also in 1998, Pakistan handed over to Kenya a suspect who reportedly confessed to involvement in the bombing of the U-S Embassy in Nairobi eight days earlier.

In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed that the United States was experiencing its worst outbreak of mosquito-borne West Nile virus since the virus first appeared in the nation in 1999.

A thought for the day: it was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote, "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

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