The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Monday, Aug. 25, the 238th day of 2008 with 128 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include Czar Ivan IV ("Ivan the Terrible") of Russia, in 1530; Allan Pinkerton, founder of the private detective agency, in 1819; author Bret Harte in 1836; dancer/actress Ruby Keeler in 1909; "Pogo" cartoonist Walt Kelly and bandleader/singer Bob Crosby both in 1913; actors Van Johnson in 1916 (age 92) and Mel Ferrer in 1917; composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein in 1918; former Alabama Gov. George Wallace in 1919; Monty Hall, host of "Let's Make A Deal," in 1921 (age 87); actor Sean Connery in 1930 (age 78); talk-show host Regis Philbin in 1931 (age 77); actress Anne Archer in 1947 (age 61); actor John Savage and rock singer Gene Simmons of KISS, both in 1949 (age 59); singer/songwriter Elvis Costello in 1954 (age 54); country singer Billy Ray Cyrus ("Achy Breaky Heart") and actress Ally Walker, both in 1961 (age 47); actors Blair Underwood and Joanne Whalley, both in 1964 (age 44); and supermodel Claudia Schiffer in 1970 (age 38).


On this date in history:

In 1718, the city of New Orleans was founded.

In 1875, Matthew Webb, a 27-year-old British merchant navy captain, became the first person known to successfully swim the English Channel.

In 1944, U.S. troops liberated Paris from the Nazis in World War II.

In 1967, a sniper assassinated American Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell in Arlington, Va.

In 1985, Samantha Smith, 13, was killed with her father and six other people in a plane crash in Maine. Her 1983 letter to Soviet President Yuri Andropov about her fear of nuclear war earned her a visit to the Soviet Union.

In 1990, the U.N. Security Council voted 13-0 to authorize use of "minimal" force against ships breaking the economic embargo of Iraq.

In 1991, the Soviet republic of Byelorussia declared independence.

In 1992, researchers reported that cigarette smoking significantly boosts the risk of developing cataracts, a leading cause of blindness.

Also in 1992, right-wing extremists, egged on by Berlin residents, set fire to a hostel for Vietnamese asylum seekers during a third night of violence against foreigners.

In 1993, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York in connection with a number of terrorist activities, including the bombing of the World Trade Center.


Also in 1993, on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at an all-time high of 3,652.09.

In 1999, the FBI admitted it fired pyrotechnic tear-gas canisters at the Branch Davidian cult compound near Waco, Texas, on the day in 1993 that the standoff came to a fiery end, but said the containers bounced away harmlessly.

In 2003, at least 45 people died and more than 61 were injured when two car bombs exploded in a crowded area of Mumbai.

In 2004, a U.S. Army investigation concluded that military intelligence units played a major role in the Abu Ghraib prison abuses in Iraq.

Also in 2004, the World Health Organization warned that polio was on the verge of becoming a major epidemic in Africa as it spread to new countries.

In 2005, residents of south Florida prepared for the arrival of Tropical Storm Katrina, which forecasters said was likely to become a hurricane.

In 2006, Pulkova Ailines Flight 612 crashed near the Russian border in Ukraine, killing 171 people.

In 2007, the Democratic National Committee voted to strip Florida of its delegates to the 2008 presidential nominating convention for rescheduling its primary for Jan. 29 in violation of party policy. Michigan received a similar penalty.


Also in 2007, back-to-back explosions thought to be set by terrorists killed at least 44 people and injured more than 50 in Hyderabad, India. Authorities uncovered explosives at 16 other locations in and near the city, officials said.

A thought for the day: John Berryman said, "Something has been said for sobriety but very little."

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