The Almanac

By United Press International  |  July 8, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, July 8, the 189th day of 2006 with 176 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include dirigible inventor Ferdinand von Zeppelin in 1838; French psychologist Alfred Binet in 1857; oil magnate John D. Rockefeller in 1839 and his grandson, U.S. Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, in 1908; also in 1908, band leader Louis Jordan; White House journalist Sarah Newcomb McClendon in 1910; drama critic Walter Kerr in 1913; jazz singer Billy Eckstine in 1914; TV executive Roone Arledge in 1931; singers Jerry Vale in 1932 (age 74) and Steve Lawrence in 1935 (age 71); actor Jeffrey Tambor in 1944 (age 62); ballet dancer Cynthia Gregory in 1946 (age 60); children's singer Raffi (Cavoukian) in 1948 (age 58); chef Wolfgang Puck in 1949 (57), and actors Kim Darby in 1948 (age 58), Anjelica Huston in 1951 (age 55), Kevin Bacon in 1958 (age 48) and Billy Crudup in 1968 (age 38).

On this date in history:

In 1497, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama sailed from Lisbon on a voyage that would lead to discovery of a sea route to India around the southern tip of Africa.

In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read in public for the first time, to people gathered at Philadelphia's Independence Square.

In 1835, the Liberty Bell cracked while being rung during the funeral of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall in Philadelphia.

In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry, representing the U.S. government, sailed into Tokyo Bay to begin negotiations that led to the United States becoming the first Western nation to establish diplomatic relations with Japan in two centuries.

In 1950, U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur was designated commander of U.N. forces in Korea.

In 1969, the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam began.

In 1991, Yugoslav leaders signed an accord calling for an internationally observed cease-fire in Slovenia and Croatia.

Also in 1991, Iraq admitted to the United Nations that it had produced enriched uranium, but not enough to make nuclear weapons.

In 1994, North Korean President Kim Il Sung died at age 82. He had led the country since its founding in 1948.

Also in 1994, O.J. Simpson was ordered to stand trial on two counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of his ex-wife and her friend.

In 1996, Turkey's first Islamic prime minister confirmed he wanted a less-Western-affiliated nation when he refused the United States permission to use a Turkish military base to bomb Iraq.

In 1997, the U.S. Senate began hearings on potentially illegal campaign fund-raising practices. Among the allegations was that China, through illegal contributions, sought to influence the outcome of the 1996 elections.

Also in 1997, NATO invited three Eastern European nations -- the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland -- to join the organization.

In 1998, a tentative settlement was reported between Dow Corning Corp. and lawyers for 170,000 women who claimed they had become ill from the company's silicone breast implants.

Also in 1998, four leaders of the Montana Freemen were convicted in federal court in Billings, Mont., of conspiring to defraud banks. The anti-government, anti-tax group gained fame in 1996 during an 81-day standoff at its ranch.

In 2003, North Korea said work had begun on nuclear weapons with enough plutonium on hand to build six bombs.

Also in 2003, doctors in Singapore separated two 29-year-old Iranian sisters who had been joined at the head since birth but the women died during the 54-hour operation.

And, six people, including the gunman, died during a rampage at a military parts manufacturing plant in Meridian, Miss.

In 2004, a U.S. Marine once reported to have been beheaded by Iraqi captors showed up alive and well at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, 24, was turned over to military authorities.

In 2005, Hurricane Dennis killed an estimated 57 people in Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica before thundering toward the Florida coast where residents prepared for a major storm.

A thought for the day: "Business? That's very simple. It's other people's money." So said Alexander Dumas.

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