The Almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Friday, Aug. 25, the 237th day of 2006 with 128 to follow.

The moon is waxing. 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 Virgo. They include Czar Ivan IV ("Ivan the Terrible") of Russia, in 1530; Allan Pinkerton, founder of the private detective agency, in 1819; author Bret Harte in 1836; dancer/actress Ruby Keeler in 1909; "Pogo" cartoonist Walt Kelly in 1913; bandleader/singer Bob Crosby also in 1913; actors Van Johnson in 1916 (age 90) and Mel Ferrer in 1917 (age 89); composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein in 1918; former Alabama Gov. George Wallace in 1919; Monty Hall, host of "Let's Make A Deal," in 1921 (age 85); actor Sean Connery in 1930 (age 76); talk-show host Regis Philbin in 1931 (age 75); actress Anne Archer in 1947 (age 59); actor John Savage and rock singer Gene Simmons of KISS, both in 1949 (age 57); singer/songwriter Elvis Costello in 1954 (age 52); country singer Billy Ray Cyrus ("Achy Breaky Heart") and actress Ally Walker, both in 1961 (age 45); actors Blair Underwood and Joanne Whalley, both in 1964 (age 42); and supermodel Claudia Schiffer in 1970 (age 36).


On this date in history:

In 1718, the city of New Orleans was founded.

In 1875, Matthew Webb, a 27-year-old British merchant navy captain, became the first person known to successfully swim the English Channel.

In 1944, U.S. troops liberated Paris from the Nazis in World War II.

In 1967, a sniper assassinated American Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell in Arlington, Va.

n 1985, Samantha Smith, 13, was killed with her father and six other people in a plane crash in Maine. Her 1983 letter to Soviet President Yuri Andropov about her fear of nuclear war earned her a visit to the Soviet Union.

In 1990, the U.N. Security Council voted 13-0 to authorize use of "minimal" force against ships breaking the economic embargo of Iraq.

In 1991, the Soviet republic of Byelorussia declared independence.

In 1992, researchers reported that cigarette smoking significantly boosts the risk of developing cataracts, a leading cause of blindness.

Also in 1992, right-wing extremists, egged on by Berlin residents, set fire to a hostel for Vietnamese asylum seekers during a third night of violence against foreigners.

In 1993, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York in connection with a number of terrorist activities, including the bombing of the World Trade Center.


Also in 1993, on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at an all-time high of 3,652.09.

In 1999, the FBI admitted it fired pyrotechnic tear-gas canisters at the Branch Davidian cult compound near Waco, Texas, on the day in 1993 that the standoff came to a fiery end, but said the containers bounced away harmlessly.

In 2003, at least 45 people died and more than 61 were injured when two car bombs exploded in a crowded area of Bombay.

In 2004, a U.S. Army investigation concluded that military intelligence units played a major role in the Abu Ghraib prison abuses in Iraq.

Also in 2004, the World Health Organization warned that polio was on the verge of becoming a major epidemic in Africa as it spread to new countries.

In 2005, residents of south Florida prepared for the arrival of Tropical Storm Katrina, which forecasters said was likely to become a hurricane.

Also in 2005, the United States said it would send 1,500 more troops to Iraq to boost strength in the run-up to the country's elections in October and December, raising the troop level to about 140,000.

A thought for the day: John Berryman said, "Something has been said for sobriety but very little."


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