The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Friday, July 25, the 207th day of 2008 with 159 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 Revolutionary War Gen. Henry Knox in 1750; artists Thomas Eakins in 1844 and Maxfield Parrish in 1870; actors Walter Brennan in 1894 and Jack Gilford in 1907; actresses Estelle Getty in 1923 and Barbara Harris in 1935 (age 73); folk singer/songwriter Steve Goodman in 1948; model/actress Iman in 1955 (age 53); actor Matt LeBlanc in 1967 (age 41); Louise Joy Brown, the first "test-tube" baby, in 1978 (age 30); and actor Brad Renfro in 1982 (age 26).


On this date in history:

In 1832, one man was killed and three others injured in the first recorded railroad accident in U.S. history. The four were thrown from an otherwise vacant car on the Granite Railway near Quincy, Mass.

In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, U.S. forces launched their invasion of Puerto Rico, the island that was one of Spain's two principal possessions in the Caribbean.

In 1909, French pioneer aviator Louis Bleriot became the first person to fly a "heavier-than-air machine" across the English Channel. It took him 36 minutes.

In 1917, Mata Hari, the archetype of the seductive female spy, was sentenced to death in France as a German spy.

In 1952, Puerto Rico became a self-governing U.S. commonwealth.

In 1956, the Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria sank off Long Island, N.Y., after colliding with the Swedish liner Stockholm.

In 1965, folk legend Bob Dylan performed for the first time with electric instruments, so upsetting his fans they booed him.

In 1972, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, disclosed he had undergone psychiatric treatment in the 1960s. Presidential nominee George McGovern replaced him on the ticket with Sargent Shriver.

In 1978, the world's first "test-tube" baby, Louise Brown, was born in Oldham, England.


In 1986, former Navy radioman Jerry Whitworth was convicted of selling U.S. military secrets to the Soviets through the John Walker spy ring. The government called it the most damaging espionage case since World War II.

In 1991, the South African government admitted donating $35 billion in 1989 to support political parties opposing the South-West Africa People's Organization.

In 1992, the Summer Olympics opened in Barcelona, Spain.

In 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordan's King Hussein signed a declaration that ended the 46-year state of war between their two countries.

In 1997, captured Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot was sentenced to life imprisonment in a trial by his former comrades in Cambodia.

In 1999, cyclist Lance Armstrong, having overcome cancer, became the first American on a U.S. team to win the Tour de France.

In 2000, an Air France Concorde supersonic jet crashed on takeoff from Paris, killing all 113 people aboard. It was the first crash of a Concorde.

In 2004, Lance Armstrong won the grueling Tour de France bicycle race for a record sixth consecutive year.

Also in 2004, the harshest cold spell in 30 years struck the Andes Mountains in Peru causing the deaths of at least 46 children.


In 2005, two major unions, the Teamsters and the Service Employees International, announced they were pulling out of the AFL-CIO.

In 2006, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, while also criticizing Hezbollah for its actions against Israel, said that Israeli "arrogance" threatened to plunge the region into war.

Also in 2006, U.S. forces made 19 raids against death squads responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians in Iraq as part of a new crackdown.

In 2007, a bipartisan presidential commission, set up in response to the inadequate treatment of troops at Washington's Walter Reed Medical Center, called for an overhaul the system of determining disability and compensation determinations and improving treatment for brain injuries and post traumatic stress.

Also in 2007, as Iraqis celebrated their national soccer team's victory over South Korea in the Asian Cup semifinals, panic took over when two suicide bombers attacked crowds in Baghdad, killing at least 50 people and injuring about 140.

A thought for the day: Margaret Fuller said, "Genius will live and thrive without training but it does not the less reward the watering pot and pruning knife."

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