The Almanac

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Today is Sunday, Aug. 17, the 229th day of 2003 with 136 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include frontiersman Davy Crockett in 1786; movie producer Samuel Goldwyn in 1882; black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey in 1887; actors Monty Woolley in 1888 and Mae West in 1892; publisher/diplomat John Hay Whitney in 1904; bandleader Hugo Winterhalter in 1909; actors Maureen O'Hara in 1921 (age 82) and Robert DeNiro in 1945 (age 58); U.S. aviator Gary Powers in 1929; British poet laureate Ted Hughes in 1930 (age 73); pop singer Belinda Carlisle in 1958 (age 45); and actor Sean Penn in 1960 (age 43).

On this date in history:

In 1807, Robert Fulton began the first American steamboat trip between Albany, N.Y., and New York City.


In 1915, a hurricane struck Galveston, Texas, killing 275 people.

In 1961, the East German government began building the Berlin Wall.

In 1978, three Americans completed the first successful crossing of the Atlantic by balloon, landing their helium-filled Double Eagle II near Paris.

In 1987, kidnapped American journalist Charles Glass escaped and was rescued after being held hostage for 62 days in Lebanon.

Also in 1987, Rudolf Hess, Hitler's former deputy, was found strangled in Berlin's Spandau Prison. He was 93.

In 1991, the Lebanese government granted amnesty to former Christian army commander Gen. Michel Aoun and allowed him to leave the French embassy.

In 1992, filmmaker Woody Allen and his leading lady, Mia Farrow, split up after 12 years together. Allen said he was in love with the actress' adult daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.

In 1996, the Reform Party nominated Texas businessman Ross Perot for president.

In 1998, President Clinton testified via live closed-circuit television to a federal grand jury investigating whether he had an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. That evening, Clinton addressed the American people, admitting a relationship with Lewinsky that was "not appropriate."


In 1999, at least 16,000 people were killed and 20,000 more injured when a strong earthquake rocked Turkey. The quake's epicenter was located near a village 55 miles east of Istanbul.

In 2001, Ford Motor Co. announced it would dismiss up to 5,000 of its salaried employees, or 10 percent of its managers and engineers, in one of the biggest of a series of corporate payroll cutbacks, seen as further evidence of a faltering economy.

A thought for the day: it was Alexander Woollcott who said, "All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal or fattening."

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