The Almanac

United Press International

Today is Wednesday, Aug. 24, the 236th day of 2005 with 129 to follow.

The moon is waning. 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 pioneer British abolitionist William Wilberforce in 1759; Joshua Lionel Cowen, inventor of the electric toy train, in 1880; English author and parodist Max Beerbohm in 1872; country music publisher Fred Rose in 1897; Argentine poet and author Jorge Luis Borges in 1899; actor Michael Richards in 1950 (age 55); former Ohio State football running back Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, in 1954 (age 51); actor Steve Guttenberg in 1958 (age 47); former baseball star Cal Ripken Jr. in 1960 (age 45); and actress Marlee Matlin in 1965 (age ).

On this date in history:

In 79 A.D., thousands died and the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in Italy.


In 1814, the British captured Washington, and burned the Capitol and the White House.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly non-stop across the United States.

In 1987, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled public schools could require students to study textbooks not accepted by religious fundamentalists.

In 1990, Irish-British hostage Brian Keenan, held by pro-Iranian Muslim extremists in Lebanon for more than four years, was freed.

In 1991, Soviet President Gorbachev quit as general-secretary of the Communist Party central committee. He also ordered his Cabinet to resign.

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida south of Miami with sustained winds of up to 145 mph, carving path of destruction.

In 1995, Beijing convicted and then expelled Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu, arrested in June while trying to enter China from Kazakhstan.

In 1996, four women became students at The Citadel, a military school in South Carolina that had fought in court to remain all male.

In 2003, a Newsweek poll indicated that Americans were growing increasingly wary of U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

In 2004, two Russian passenger jetliners crashed within minutes of each other after taking off from Domodedovo Airport in Moscow. A total of 89 people were killed. Authorities suspected a terrorist act.


Also in 2004, an investigative panel headed by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger blamed institutional and personal failures at high levels for mistreatment of prisoners at Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

A thought for the day: it was Hartford (Conn.) Courant Editor Charles Dudley Warner -- and not his friend and colleague Mark Twain -- who said, "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."

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