The almanac

By United Press International  |  July 23, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, July 23, the 205th day of 2008 with 161 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include detective novelist Raymond Chandler in 1888; Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie in 1892; actor Michael Wilding in 1912; Broadway restaurateur Vincent Sardi Jr. in 1915; actress Gloria DeHaven in 1925 (age 83); baseball pitcher Don Drysdale and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (age 72), both in 1936; actor Ronny Cox in 1938 (age 70); radio talk show host Don Imus in 1940 (age 68); and actors Edie McClurg in 1951 (age 57), Woody Harrelson in 1961 (age 47) and Eriq La Salle in 1962 (age 46); and Monica Lewinsky in 1973 (age 35).

On this date in history:

In 1829, William Burt of Mount Vernon, Mich., patented the "typographer," believed to be the first typewriter.

In 1948, legendary pioneer movie director D.W. Griffith, maker of several silent classics including the controversial groundbreaker "Birth of a Nation," died at the age of 73.

In 1967, one of the worst riots in U.S. history broke out on 12th Street in the heart of Detroit's predominantly African-American inner city. By the time it was quelled four days later by 7,000 National Guard and U.S. Army troops, 43 people were dead, 342 injured.

In 1973, Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox served subpoenas on the White House after U.S. President Richard Nixon refused to turn over requested tapes and documents.

In 1982, actor Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed when a helicopter disabled by special effects explosives crashed on the set of "The Twilight Zone" movie.

In 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush nominated federal appeals Judge David Souter of New Hampshire to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan.

In 1991, the Soviet government applied for full membership to the IMF and World Bank after the Group of Seven recommended a limited "special association" for the U.S.S.R.

In 1998, a second grand jury impaneled by independent counsel Kenneth Starr began hearing testimony about U.S. President Bill Clinton's alleged affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

In 1999, U.S. Air Force Col. Eileen Collins became the first woman to command a space shuttle flight with the launch of Columbia on a four-day mission.

Also in 1999, Morocco's King Hassan II, an influential leader in the Arab world, died at age 70.

In 2002, a laser-guided bomb fired from an Israeli warplane hit the Gaza home of Sheik Salah Shehada, founder of the military wing of Hamas, killing him and 14 others and wounding more than 140.

Also in 2002, Pope John Paul II, though weakened by Parkinson's disease, began an 11-day trip in Toronto where he attended World Youth Day, a weeklong Roman Catholic festival.

In 2003, the Massachusetts attorney general said an investigation indicated nearly 1,000 cases of abuse by Roman Catholic priests and other church personnel in the Boston diocese over a span of 60 years.

In 2004, the Iraqi army began patrolling its own country for the first time.

In 2005, three synchronized terrorist bombings struck Sharm el-Sheik, an Egyptian resort, killing at least 90 people and injuring 240.

In 2006, an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia's Sulawesi island, one week after another quake triggered a tsunami that killed almost 700 people on the Indonesian island of Java. There was no such deadly follow-up reported from the second tremor, however.

In 2007, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair made his first visit to the Middle East as special envoy for "the Quartet," made up of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

Also in 2007, former Afghanistan King Zahir Shah, a monarch admired for his reforms who reigned for 40 years before being forced into exile in Italy and who returned in 2002, died at the age of 92.

A thought for the day: author Stendhal (Henri Beyle) said, "Wit lasts no more than two centuries."

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