The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Aug. 30, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2006 with 123 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 author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley ("Frankenstein") in 1797; Louisiana Gov. Huey Long in 1893; actor Raymond Massey in 1896; journalist/author John Gunther and civil rights leader Roy Wilkins, both in 1901; actor Fred MacMurray in 1908; actresses Shirley Booth in 1898 and Joan Blondell in 1906; baseball legend Ted Williams in 1918; country music singer Kitty Wells in 1919 (age 87); singer John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas in 1935; actress Elizabeth Ashley in 1939 (age 67); French Olympic champion skier Jean-Claude Killy in 1943 (age 63); and actors Timothy Bottoms in 1951 (age 55), Michael Chiklis in 1963 (age 43), Michael Michele in 1966 (age 40) and Cameron Diaz in 1972 (age 34).

On this date in history:

In 30 BC, Cleopatra, queen of Egypt and lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, committed suicide following the defeat of her forces by Octavian, the future first emperor of Rome.

In 1780, Gen. Benedict Arnold betrayed the United States when he promised secretly to surrender the fort at West Point to the British army. He later fled to England and died in poverty.

In 1941, German forces began the 900-day siege of Leningrad. When it ended, the Russian city lay in ruins and hundreds of thousands of people had died.

In 1983, Guion Bluford became the first black astronaut in space.

In 1992, at least 15 people were killed and 31 wounded when an artillery shell exploded in a crowded Sarajevo market.

In 1994, the Lockheed and Martin Marietta corporations agreed to a merger that would create the largest U.S. defense contractor.

In 1997, the Houston Comets defeated the New York Liberty, 65-51, to become the fledgling Women's National Basketball Association's first champions.

In 2003, more than 120 people, including prominent Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, were killed in a bombing attack on Iraq's Imam Ali Mosque.

In 2004, at least 240 people were arrested during a New York anti-Bush demonstration two days before the National Republican convention.

In 2005, on the day after Hurricane Katrina struck, 80 percent of New Orleans was under water. Electric, water, sewage, communication and transportation systems were out Three-fourths of all houses were reported damaged or destroyed. Many residents stayed behind, some with no choice, and a massive rescue effort was under way. Thousands were rescued, many plucked from rooftops, and most sought shelter in the Superdome stadium as conditions worsened. Many others waited for days to be rescued.

In other areas along the Gulf, meanwhile, Katrina flattened much of Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss., flooded Mobile, Ala., and heavily damaged smaller towns in between. The death toll eventually would total some 1,800, most of those dying in New Orleans, with a reported price tag of a U.S. record $81.2 billion.

A thought for the day: it was Francis Bacon who said, "Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out."

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