The Almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Monday, Aug. 15, the 227th day of 2005 with 138 to go.

The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Mars, Uranus and Saturn. The evening stars are Neptune, Jupiter, Venus 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 ; conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly in 1924 (age 81); actor Mike Connors in 1925 (age 80); civil rights leader Vernon Jordan Jr. in 1935 (age 70); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in 1938 (age 67); journalist Linda Ellerbee in 1944 (age 61); songwriter Jimmy Webb and politician Kathryn Whitmire, first woman mayor of Houston, both in 1946 (age 59); Britain's Princess Anne in 1950 (age 55); and actors Debra Messing in 1968 (age 37) and Ben Affleck in 1972 (age 33).


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 United Nations 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, 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.

In 2003, Libya admitted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, that claimed 270 lives and agreed to pay reparations that reports say could total $2.7 billion.


In 2004, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on Central Africa governments to curb militias in the border areas of Burundi, Congo, Rwanda and Uganda following the massacre of more than 150 Congolese refugees, mostly women and children, in Burundi.

Also in 2004, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez survived a referendum to oust him.

And, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi marked the 59th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II, saying his country is committed to peacemaking.

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

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