The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Friday, Aug. 29, the 242nd day of 2008 with 124 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 English philosopher John Locke in 1632; author and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. in 1809; Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in 1811; automotive inventor Charles Kettering in 1876; Jack Teagarden, jazz great known as king of the blues trombone, in 1905; actor Barry Sullivan in 1912; actress Ingrid Bergman in 1915; jazz saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker in 1920; British filmmaker Richard Attenborough in 1923 (age 85); jazz and pop singer Dinah Washington in 1924; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in 1936 (age 72); actor Elliott Gould in 1938 (age 70); filmmaker William Friedkin ("The Exorcist") in 1935 (age 73); TV personality Robin Leach ("Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous") in 1941 (age 67); pop singer Michael Jackson in 1958 (age 50); and actress Rebecca De Mornay in 1962 (age 46).


On this date in history:

In 1533, Atahualpa, last of the Inca rulers, was strangled under orders of Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro. The Inca Empire died with him.

In 1949, the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb at a remote test site at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan.

In 1965, U.S. astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad landed safely to end the eight-day orbital flight of Gemini 5.

In 1973, U.S. District Judge John Sirica ordered U.S. President Richard Nixon to turn over secret Watergate tapes. Nixon refused and appealed the order.

In 1991, in Kiev, the republics of Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement to remain in the Soviet Union and negotiate a loose federation.

In 1994, Israel and the PLO signed a new agreement to shift West Bank administrative functions to the Palestinian National Authority.

In 1995, Eduard Shevardnadze, the head of state in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, was slightly injured when a bomb exploded near his motorcade in Tbilisi.

In 2003, a car bomb explosion killed more than 80 worshippers at the Imam Ali Mosque in the Iraqi Shitte holy city of Najaf.

In 2004, the Summer Olympics came to a close in Athens, Greece. The United States won 103 medals, 35 of them gold, led by swimmer Michael Phelps who took home six gold and two bronze medals.


In 2005, downgraded to a Category 4 but packing high storm surges and sustained winds of more than 140 miles an hour, Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore on the Gulf Coast, its eye crossing northeast Louisiana, just east of New Orleans, inflicting severe damage in New Orleans and along coastlines of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, with high winds and killer floods, becoming the costliest storm in history with reports of more than $125 billion in damage and more than 1,800 killed.

Also in 2005, the average U.S. pump price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline rose to a record $2.60.

In 2006, a report said hurricane damages were soaring to new levels and causing insurance companies, staggered by Hurricane Katrina, to abandon homeowners in high-risk coastal areas.

In 2007, South Korea negotiators said the Taliban would release 19 hostages held in Afghanistan for 41 days after South Korea promised to pull its troops from Afghanistan by year's end and ban its Christian missionary work there.

In 2007, The U.S. Census Bureau reported that median household income in the United States increased to $48,201 in 2006, an increase of about $800 more than the previous year.

A thought for the day: Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, "A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life experience."


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