The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Monday, Aug. 3, the 215th day of 2009 with 150 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include Elisha Graves Otis, inventor of the modern elevator, in 1811; World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle in 1900; orchestra leader Ray Bloch in 1902; actress Dolores del Rio in 1905; band leader Les Elgart in 1917; author Leon Uris in 1924; singer Tony Bennett in 1926 (age 83); TV personality and lifestyle consultant Martha Stewart in 1941 (age 68); and actors Martin Sheen in 1940 (age 69) and Jay North in 1951 (age 58).

On this date in history:

In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain for the New World with a convoy of three small ships -- the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria -- and fewer than 100 crewmen.


In 1914, Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium. The following day, Britain declared war on Germany and World War I was under way.

In 1958, the U.S. nuclear submarine "Nautilus" crossed under the North Pole.

In 1981, U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike. The strikers were fired within one week.

In 1990, the prime ministers of East and West Germany agreed to move up unification to early fall and rescheduled all-German elections for Oct. 14.

In 1997, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he wouldn't honor agreements with the Palestine National Authority unless it cracked down on terrorism.

In 1998, talks broke down between Iraqi officials and Richard Butler, the head of the U.N. team overseeing the dismantling of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

In 2004, the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor was opened to the public for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In 2005, in the first emergency repair conducted in space, astronauts fixed a potentially dangerous problem by removing two strips of protruding cloth from the underside of the space shuttle Discovery that could have overheated during re-entry.

Also in 2005, South Korea scientists reported the first successful cloning of a dog, considered one of the most difficult animals to copy.


In 2006, U.S. Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, told Congress that sectarian violence in Baghdad was "probably as bad as I've seen it" and predicted a possible civil war.

Also in 2006, Ukrainian leaders reached a coalition agreement after President Viktor Yushchenko nominated his archrival as prime minister.

In 2007, the U.S. Congress passed a bill allowing the National Security Agency to monitor e-mail and telephone communications between the United States and foreign countries without a court warrant if terrorism was believed to be involved.

In 2008, more than 120 religious pilgrims were trampled to death and 40 more were injured during a stampede in northern India. Emergency workers said most of those killed were women and children caught in a panic caused by rumors of a landslide.

Also in 2008, once exiled Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose works revealed the harshness of the Soviet penal system, died at the age of 89. The Nobel Prize-winning author of "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," had been reported ill for years.

And, 11 mountain climbers were killed when a large mass of ice breaks and causes an avalanche on K2, the world's second-tallest mountain. It was the deadliest climbing accident on the northern Pakistan mountain since 1986.


A thought for the day: it was Henry David Thoreau who said, "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in milk."

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