The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 243rd day of 2008 with 123 to follow.

The moon is new. 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 author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley ("Frankenstein") in 1797; Louisiana Gov. Huey Long in 1893; actor Raymond Massey in 1896; journalist/author John Gunther and civil rights leader Roy Wilkins, both in 1901; actor Fred MacMurray in 1908; actresses Shirley Booth in 1898 and Joan Blondell in 1906; baseball legend Ted Williams in 1918; country music singer Kitty Wells in 1919 (age 88); singer John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas in 1935; actress Elizabeth Ashley in 1939 (age 69); French Olympic champion skier Jean-Claude Killy in 1943 (age 64); and actors Timothy Bottoms in 1951 (age 57), Michael Chiklis in 1963 (age 45), Michael Michele in 1966 (age 42) and Cameron Diaz in 1972 (age 36).


On this date in history:

In 30 B.C., Cleopatra, queen of Egypt and lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, committed suicide following the defeat of her forces by Octavian, the future first emperor of Rome.

In 1780, Gen. Benedict Arnold betrayed the United States when he promised secretly to surrender the fort at West Point to the British army. He later fled to England and died in poverty.

In 1941, German forces began the 900-day siege of Leningrad. When it ended, the Russian city lay in ruins and hundreds of thousands of people had died.

In 1983, Guion Bluford became the first black astronaut in space.

In 1992, at least 15 people were killed and 31 wounded when an artillery shell exploded in a crowded Sarajevo market.

In 1994, the Lockheed and Martin Marietta corporations agreed to a merger that would create the largest U.S. defense contractor.

In 1997, the Houston Comets defeated the New York Liberty, 65-51, to become the fledgling Women's National Basketball Association's first champions.

In 2003, more than 120 people, including prominent Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, were killed in a bombing attack on Iraq's Imam Ali Mosque.

In 2004, at least 240 people were arrested during a New York anti-Bush demonstration two days before the National Republican convention.


In 2005, on the day after Hurricane Katrina struck, 80 percent of New Orleans was under water. Electric, water, sewage, communication and transportation systems were out. Three-fourths of all houses were reported damaged or destroyed. Thousands were rescued, many plucked from rooftops and some sought shelter in the Superdome stadium.

In other areas along the Gulf, meanwhile, Katrina flattened much of Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss., flooded Mobile, Ala., and heavily damaged smaller towns in between. The death toll report eventually would top 1,800, most of those dying in New Orleans, with more than $100 billion in damages.

In 2006, Hurricane John, moving north-northwest along the southwest coast of Mexico, was upgraded to a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds.

Also in 2006, one year after Hurricane Katrina triggered the devastation of New Orleans, authorities said bickering was holding up almost $1 billion in relief from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In 2007, the U.S Justice Department expanded its investigation into whether outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had intentionally misled Congress on the dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys and government surveillance programs.

Also in 2007, a state inquiry said the Virginia Tech massacre in April would have been smaller if the school had acted more quickly in warning students. Tech senior Cho Seung-hui killed 27 students and five faculty members, injured 17 others and committed suicide.


A thought for the day: it was Francis Bacon who said, "Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out."

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