The almanac

By United Press International  |  Aug. 27, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, Aug. 27, the 240th day of 2008 with 126 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 German philosopher Georg Hegel in 1770; novelist Theodore Dreiser in 1871; English automaker Charles Rolls in 1877; novelist C.S. Forester in 1899; Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th president of the United States, in 1908; Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa in 1910; singer/actress Martha Raye in 1916; singer/actor Tommy Sands in 1937 (age 71); actress Tuesday Weld in 1943 (age 65); actor Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman) in 1952 (age 56); and actress Sarah Chalke in 1976 (age 32).

On this date in history:

In 1859, the first successful oil well in the United States was drilled near Titusville, Pa.

In 1883, the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history occurred on Krakatoa, a small, uninhabited island located west of Sumatra in Indonesia.

In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, outlawing war as a means to settle international disputes, was signed by 15 nations in Paris. World War II began 11 years later.

In 1939, Adolf Hitler served notice on England and France that Germany wanted Danzig and the Polish Corridor.

In 1977, IRA terrorists killed Louis Mountbatten, a cousin of the queen, by blowing up his boat. It was the IRA's first attack on the royal family.

In 1991, the Soviet republic of Moldavia declared independence and the European Community recognized Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as independent nations.

In 1992, Serbian leaders at the Yugoslav peace conference pledged to close the prisoner-of-war camps, end "ethnic cleansing" and work toward peace.

Also in 1992, Canada's Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a law that would have prevented a man from claiming the Nazi Holocaust was a hoax.

In 1999, two Russian cosmonauts and a French astronaut left Mir to return to Earth, leaving the orbiting Russian space station unmanned for the first time in 13 years.

In 2003, the United States and North Korea met privately in Beijing during the six-nation talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program. Diplomats said there was no breakthrough in the talks.

In 2004, Russian authorities said traces of explosives were found in the wreckage of two airliners that crashed within minutes of each other after takeoff earlier in the week in Moscow, heightening suspicion of terrorism. A total of 89 people died in the crashes.

In 2005, the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and the Florida Panhandle was battening down for the second landfall of Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 storm and strengthening.

In 2006, reports said hundreds of tribal chiefs signed a pact supporting reconciliation and an end to sectarian strife in Iraq while bombs and gunfire killed 100 Iraqis over a two-day period.

In 2007, beleaguered U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation, effective Sept. 17. He had been embroiled in several controversies including the firings of nine U.S. attorneys, treatment of detainees, surveillance and other issues.

A thought for the day: in her novel "Molly Bawn," Margaret Wolfe Hungerford wrote, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

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