The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Saturday, Aug. 2, the 215th day of 2007 with 151 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include singer Helen Morgan in 1900; actresses Myrna Loy in 1905 and Beatrice Straight in 1914; band leader Johnny Long in 1915; author James Baldwin and actor Carroll O'Connor, both in 1924; filmmaker Wes Craven in 1939 (age 69); and actors Peter O'Toole in 1932 (age 76), Joanna Cassidy in 1945 (age 63), Kathryn Harrold in 1950 (age 58), Victoria Jackson in 1959 (age 49), Mary Louise Parker in 1964 (age 44) and Edward Furlong in 1977 (age 31); and writer/director/actor Kevin Smith in 1970 (age 38).


On this date in history:

In 1776, the Declaration of Independence, adopted on July 4, was signed by members of the Continental Congress.

In 1923, U.S. President Warren G. Harding, on a tour of Alaska and the West Coast, died of a stroke in a San Francisco hotel at the age of 58 as rumors of a potential corruption scandal swirled in Washington. He was succeeded by Vice President Calvin Coolidge.

In 1934, with the death of German President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Adolf Hitler became absolute dictator of Germany under the title of fuehrer, or "leader."

In 1968, a major earthquake in the Philippines rocked Manila, killing 307 people.

In 1974, John Dean, counsel to U.S. President Richard Nixon, was sentenced to 1-to-4 years in prison for his part in the Watergate cover-up.

In 1988, U.S. military investigators concluded that crew errors led to the shooting down on July 3 of an Iranian passenger jet by the USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf.

In 1990, Iraq invaded and overran neighboring Kuwait after weeks of tension over disputed land and oil production quotas.

In 1999, in a magazine interview, U.S. first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said her husband lied at first about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky to protect her, his wife.


In 2000, the Republican Party nominated George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to head its ticket for the November elections.

In 2001, former Bosnian Gen. Radislav Krstic was found guilty of genocide in the massacre of 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys.

In 2003, the Saudi government issued a formal denial that two Saudi figures reportedly linked to Sept. 11 terrorists were intelligence agents.

In 2004, U.S. President George Bush, giving qualified support to a report from a commission investigating the 2001 terrorist attacks, said he favored the appointment of a national intelligence director.

Also in 2004, crude oil prices rose sharply after the terror alert in the United States was hiked over an al-Qaida threat, posting a record $43.92 a barrel before slipping back.

In 2005, U.S. President George Bush signed the Central America Trade Agreement with six countries, granting greater access for U.S. products.

Also in 2005, an Air France jumbo jet caught fire after skidding off the runway at Toronto's international airport but all 297 passengers and 12 crew members survived.

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI renewed his call for a cease-fire in the Middle East fight between Israel and Hezbollah, saying nothing "can justify the spilling of innocent blood."


Also in 2006, at least 12 people, mostly children and athletes, were killed and 14 wounded when two bombs in gym bags exploded near a soccer field in Baghdad.

In 2007, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, returning to Washington from the Middle East, called the political situation in Iraq "discouraging." He said the Bush administration had "underestimated the depth of mistrust" between the Sunni and Shiite religious blocs.

A thought for the day: English philosopher Samuel Johnson said, "A man should keep his friendships in constant repair."

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