The Almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Tuesday, Aug. 15, the 227th day of 2006 with 138 to go.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include Napoleon Bonaparte in 1769; Scottish novelist Walter Scott in 1771; longtime Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey in 1859; actress Ethel Barrymore in 1879; novelist Edna Ferber in 1885; 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; bandleader Hugo Winterhalter in 1909; chef Julia Child in 1912 ; conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly in 1924 (age 82); actor Mike Connors in 1925 (age 81); civil rights leader Vernon Jordan Jr. in 1935 (age 71); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in 1938 (age 68); journalist Linda Ellerbee in 1944 (age 62); songwriter Jimmy Webb in 1946 (age 60); Britain's Princess Anne in 1950 (age 56); and actors Debra Messing in 1968 (age 38) and Ben Affleck in 1972 (age 34).


On this date in history:

In 1914, a U.S. 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 United Nations allowed Iraq to sell up to $1.6 billion worth of oil to obtain money for food and medicine.

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 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 Anan 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.

In 2005, newly formed Hurricane Irene strengthened to 85 mph winds but forecasters said it was unlikely to pose a threat to the United States.

A thought for the day: it was Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote, "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"

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