Today is Sunday, Aug. 3, the 216th day of 2008 with 150 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 Elisha Graves Otis, inventor of the modern elevator, in 1811; World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle in 1900; orchestra leader Ray Bloch in 1902; actress Dolores del Rio in 1905; band leader Les Elgart in 1917; author Leon Uris in 1924; singer Tony Bennett in 1926 (age 82); TV personality and lifestyle consultant Martha Stewart in 1941 (age 67); and actors Martin Sheen in 1940 (age 68) and Jay North in 1951 (age 57).
On this date in history:
In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain for the New World with a convoy of three small ships -- the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria -- and fewer than 100 crewmen.
In 1914, Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium. The following day, Britain declared war on Germany and World War I was under way.
In 1958, the U.S. nuclear submarine "Nautilus" crossed under the North Pole.
In 1981, U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike. The strikers were fired within one week.
In 1990, the prime ministers of East and West Germany agreed to move up unification to early fall and rescheduled all-German elections for Oct. 14.
In 1991, Japanese Finance Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto publicly apologized but refused to resign for involvement in loans worth $10 million to three friends.
In 1997, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he wouldn't honor agreements with the Palestine National Authority unless it cracked down on terrorism.
In 1998, talks broke down between Iraqi officials and Richard Butler, the head of the U.N. team overseeing the dismantling of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
In 2004, Missouri voters approved an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriages.
Also in 2004, the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor was opened to the public for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
In 2005, in the first emergency repair conducted in space, astronauts fixed a potentially dangerous problem by removing two strips of protruding cloth from the underside of the space shuttle Discovery that could have overheated during re-entry.
Also in 2005, South Korea scientists reported the first successful cloning of a dog, considered one of the most difficult animals to copy.
In 2006, Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, told Congress that sectarian violence in Baghdad was "probably as bad as I've seen it" and predicted a possible civil war.
Also in 2006, Ukrainian leaders reached a coalition agreement after President Victor Yushchenko nominated his archrival as prime minister.
In 2007, the U.S. Congress passed a bill allowing the National Security Agency to monitor e-mail and telephone communications between the United States and foreign countries without a court warrant if terrorism was believed to be involved.
A thought for the day: it was Henry David Thoreau who said, "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in milk."