The Almanac

United Press International

Today is Saturday, Aug. 21, the 234th day of 2004 with 132 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include illustrator Aubrey Beardsley in 1872; jazz great William "Count" Basie in 1904; mystery novelist Anthony Boucher in 1911; Britain's Princess Margaret in 1930; basketball star Wilt Chamberlain in 1936; country/pop singer Kenny Rogers in 1938 (age 66); actor Clarence Williams III in 1939 (age 65); pop singer Jackie DeShannon in 1944 (age 60); and actresses Patty McCormack in 1945 (age 59) and Kim Cattrall in 1956 (age 48); American Online founder Steve Case in 1958 (age 46); former football player Jim McMahon in 1959 (age 45); and actress Alicia Witt in 1975 (age 29).

On this date in history:

On this date in 1831, slave Nat Turner launched a bloody slave insurrection in Southampton County, Va., leading to the deaths of 60 white people. Turner, an educated minister who considered himself chosen by God to lead his people out of slavery, was hanged.


In 1935, Benny Goodman's nationally broadcast concert at Los Angeles' Palomar Theater was such a hit that it often has been referred to as the kickoff of the swing era.

In 1940, exiled Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico City on orders from Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

In 1951, the United States ordered construction of the world's first atomic submarine, the Nautilus.

Hawaii became the 50th state on this date in 1959.

In 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact forces invaded Czechoslovakia to end its bid for independence from Moscow.

In 1983, Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino was assassinated as he stepped from a plane at the Manila airport.

In 1986, gas belching from a volcanic lake in the remote mountains of Cameroon killed more than 1,700 people and injured 500.

In 1991, a coup to oust Soviet President Gorbachev collapsed two days after it began.

In 1992, fugitive neo-Nazi leader Randall Weaver opened fire on U.S. marshals from inside his Idaho mountaintop home. When the standoff ended 11 days later with his surrender, three people -- a deputy marshal, Weaver's wife and teenage son -- had been killed.


Also in 1992, NBC News fired correspondent and Gulf War "scud stud" Arthur Kent following two weeks of wrangling over his turning down an assignment to war-torn Croatia.

In 1993, contact was lost with the Mars Observer spacecraft only three days before it was to begin orbiting the Red Planet.

In 1994, the House of Representatives passed, 225-210, a revised version of President Clinton's crime bill.

Also in 1994, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon was elected president of Mexico.

In 1995, the Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds tobacco companies agreed to drop libel suits against ABC News after the network apologized for reporting a year earlier that cigarette makers added nicotine in order to addict smokers.

In 1996, President Clinton signed a law that let Americans carry health insurance from one job to the next, and limited denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

In 2002, President Bush said that while no decision had been made whether to go to war against Iraq, he believed a "regime change" would be "in the best interest of the world."

Also in 2002, Michael Copper, former executive of the bankrupt energy giant Enron, pleaded guility to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.


In 2003, U.S. authorities announced the arrest of the man dubbed "Chemical Ali" for his use of chemical weapons in Iraq, believed to have ordered a 1988 chemical attack on Kurds.

A thought for the day: it was Ernie Pyle who said, "I write from the worm's-eye point of view."

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