The almanac

By United Press International  |  Aug. 4, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, Aug. 4, the 217th day of 2008 with 149 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 English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1792; Scottish comedian Harry Lauder in 1870; Queen Elizabeth, mother of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, in 1900; legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong in 1901; Swedish architect Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving 100,000 Jews from the Nazis during World War II, in 1912; former UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas, in 1920 (age 88); and actors Richard Belzer in 1944 (age 64) and Billy Bob Thornton in 1955 (age 53).

On this date in history:

In 1735, freedom of the press was established in the American colonies when John Peter Zenger, publisher of a New York City newspaper, was acquitted of libel charges.

In 1914, Britain declared war on Germany, touching off World War I. The United States initially declared itself neutral.

In 1944, acting on a tip from a Dutch informer, the Nazi Gestapo captured 15-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family in a sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse.

In 1949, more than 6,000 people were killed when an earthquake leveled 50 towns in Ecuador.

In 1958, Billboard magazine introduced its "Hot 100" chart, covering the 100 most popular pop singles in the country. The first No. 1 was Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool."

In 1964, the remains of three slain civil rights workers whose disappearance on June 21 garnered national attention were found buried in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Miss.

In 1972, Arthur Bremer was found guilty of shooting and severely wounding Alabama Gov. George Wallace who was campaigning for president. Bremer was sentenced to 63 years in prison.

In 1984, the African Republic of Upper Volta changed its named to Burkina Faso, which means "the land of upright men."

In 1991, the PLO agreed to attend a regional peace conference and offered to compromise with Israel on the make-up of the Palestinian delegation.

Also in 1991, the Greek liner Oceanos sank off the South Africa coast in heavy seas. All 571 on board were rescued but the captain and crew were reported to have abandoned ship.

In 2003, The Los Angeles Times reported it had evidence that Iran was close to possessing a nuclear bomb.

In 2004, opponents of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., launched a lengthy attack on his war record with a TV ad blitz that Republican Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called "dishonest and dishonorable."

In 2004, three former detainees at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay prison claimed they were beaten until they finally gave false confessions.

In 2005, in a videotape broadcast, al-Qaida threatened Britain and the United States with attacks if their armies did not quit "the land of Islam," in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2006, authorities in Phoenix arrested two men in 24 "serial shooter" attacks that killed a reported 14 people in Arizona over the previous year.

In 2007, The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation calling on most utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power.

In 2007 sports, Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit his 755th career home run tying Hank Aaron's all-time major league record. He broke the record three days later and finished the season at 762 homers. His achievements, however, were clouded by accusations of using performance-enhancing steroids.

A thought for the day: Charles Sanders Peirce wrote, "Every man is fully satisfied that there is such a thing as truth, or he would not ask any question."

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