Today is Saturday, July 18, the 199th day of 2009 with 166 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Neptune and Uranus. The evening stars are Mercury and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray in 1811; actor Chill Wills in 1903; playwright Clifford Odets in 1906; composer, arranger, pianist Lou Busch (a.k.a. Joe "Fingers" Carr) in 1910; actor Hume Cronyn in 1911; comedian Red Skelton in 1913; actress/singer Harriet Hilliard Nelson in 1909; South African black leader Nelson Mandela in 1918 (age 91); astronaut-turned-Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, in 1921 (age 88); journalist/author Hunter S. Thompson in 1937; pop singer Dion DiMucci in 1939 (age 70); actor James Brolin in 1940 (age 69); singer Martha Reeves in 1941 (age 68); publisher Steve Forbes in 1947 (age 62); country singer Ricky Skaggs in 1954 (age 55), and actress Elizabeth McGovern in 1961 (age 48).
On this date in history:
In 1939, after a sneak preview of "The Wizard of Oz," producers debated about removing one of the songs because it seemed to slow things down. They finally decided to leave it in. The song: "Over the Rainbow."
In 1969, a car driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., plunged into a pond on Chappaquiddick Island, Mass., killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne.
In 1977, Vietnam was admitted to the United Nations.
In 1984, a gunman opened fire at a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif., killing 21 people.
In 1991, the first Ibero-American Summit Conference opened in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Also in 1991, the Yugoslav federal presidency began withdrawing troops from Slovenia.
In 1994, a car bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killed some 100 people in or near a building that housed Jewish organizations.
In 2003, British scientist David Kelly, a government adviser and former weapons inspector in Iraq, was found dead, an apparent suicide.
In 2004, the Philippines pulled its troops from Iraq, meeting a demand by kidnappers holding a Filipino hostage.
In 2005, Eric Rudolph was sentenced to two life terms for a 1998 bombing at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Ala. He also faced later sentencing in Atlanta for bombings at the 1996 Olympics and two other sites.
In 2006, with the monthly death rate rising sharply in Iraq, a U.N. report said more than 3,000 Iraqi civilians died violently during June, more than 100 a day, most since the '03 fall of Baghdad. The report estimated more than 14,000 Iraqi civilians had died violently during the first half of 2006.
In 2007, officials say damage and hazardous leaks at a Japanese nuclear power plant from an earthquake this week were greater than first reported. The Tokyo Electric Power Co. said at least 50 problems had been identified at the plant in Niigata Prefecture after the 6.8-magnitude quake.
Also in 2007, former South African President Nelson Mandela has formed a think tank of retired world leaders to offer guidance in global affairs. Among the dozen invited to join were former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.
And, in 2007 sports, Michael Vick, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League, was indicted on federal charges related to an illegal dogfighting operation. He was subsequently sentenced to 23 months in prison.
In 2008, Israeli authorities confirmed they had arrested six people in an alleged al-Qaida plot to kill U.S. President George W. Bush during a visit to Israel.
Also in 2008, a Washington Post-ABC News poll indicated that 75 percent of Americans polled said gays and lesbians should be permitted to serve in the U.S. military.
A thought for the day: Federico Fellini said, "All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster's autobiography."