The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Aug. 9, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, Aug. 9, the 221st day of 2006 with 144 to follow.

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

Those born on this day are under the sign of Leo. They include English author and angler Izaak Walton in 1593; pioneer Swiss child psychologist Jean Piaget in 1896; Violinist Zino Francescatti in 1902; English actor/playwright Robert Shaw in 1927; Hall of Fame basketball player Bob Cousy in 1928 (age 78); Australian tennis star Rod Laver in 1938 (age 68); comedian David Steinberg in 1942 (age 64); actor Sam Elliot in 1944 (age 62); heavyweight boxer Ken Norton in 1945 (age 61); actresses Melanie Griffith in 1957 (age 49) and Amanda Bearse in 1958 (age 48); pop singer Whitney Houston in 1963 (age 43); and actress Gillian Anderson ("The X-Files") in 1968 (age 38).

On this date in history:

In 480 B.C., after one of history's most famous battles, Persian forces overran the heavily outnumbered Spartan defenders of the narrow pass at Thermopylae in Greece.

In 1936, American Jesse Owens won his fourth Olympic gold medal in Berlin.

In 1945, a U.S. B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb nicknamed "Fat Man" on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.

In 1969, actress Sharon Tate and four other people were slain by the followers of Charles Manson in the first of two nights of bizarre killings.

In 1974, U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation became effective at noon and Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in as the nation's 38th chief executive.

In 1991, Vietnamese Prime Minister Do Muoi resigned. He was succeeded by Vo Van Kiet, who vowed to transform Vietnam into a market economy.

In 1992, the largest Summer Olympic Games in history ended in Barcelona, Spain.

In 1995, the 50th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki was observed in the Japanese city.

In 1996, a Florida jury ordered $750,000 be paid to lung cancer patient Gracy Carter, whose suit against the maker of Lucky Strikes was based on company memos indicating knowledge of tobacco's addictiveness when the company said otherwise in public.

Also in 1996, an ill-looking Boris Yeltsin attended a brief swearing-in ceremony for his new term as president of Russia.

In 1997, Elvis Week began in Memphis as fans commemorated the 20th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.

In 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush announced he would allow federal funding for limited stem-cell research using human embryos.

In 2003, more than 150 candidates signed up to try to replace California Gov. Gray Davis if he lost his recall vote. Davis was voted out of office and replaced by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, an Austrian-born Republican.

In 2004, Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for his role in the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.

In 2005, the space shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven landed safely, ending its 14-day mission in pre-dawn darkness at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Also in 2005, hundreds of Iraqi women staged a sit-in in a central Baghdad square to press for political rights in Iraq's new constitution.

A thought for the day: Elvis Presley said, "I wouldn't be honest with you if I said I wasn't ashamed of some of the movies, and the songs I've had to sing in them."

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