The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Sunday, Aug. 9, the 221st of 2009 with 144 to follow.

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


Those born on this day are under the sign of Leo. They include English author and angler Izaak Walton in 1593; pioneer Swiss child psychologist Jean Piaget in 1896; violinist Zino Francescatti in 1902; English actor/playwright Robert Shaw in 1927; Hall of Fame basketball player Bob Cousy in 1928 (age 81); Australian tennis star Rod Laver in 1938 (age 71); comedian David Steinberg in 1942 (age 67); actor Sam Elliott in 1944 (age 65); heavyweight boxer Ken Norton in 1943 (age 66); actresses Melanie Griffith in 1957 (age 52) and Amanda Bearse in 1958 (age 51); pop singer Whitney Houston in 1963 (age 46); and actress Gillian Anderson ("The X-Files") in 1968 (age 41).


On this date in history:

In 480 B.C., after one of history's most famous battles, Persian forces overran the heavily outnumbered Spartan defenders of the narrow pass at Thermopylae in Greece.

In 1936, American track star Jesse Owens won his fourth Olympic gold medal in Berlin.

In 1945, a U.S. B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb nicknamed "Fat Man" on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.

In 1969, actress Sharon Tate and four other people were slain in Los Angeles by the followers of Charles Manson in the first of two nights of bizarre killings.

In 1974, U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation became effective at noon and Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in as the nation's 38th chief executive.

In 1991, Vietnamese Prime Minister Do Muoi resigned. He was succeeded by Vo Van Kiet, who vowed to transform Vietnam into a market economy.

In 1995, the 50th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki was observed in the Japanese city.

In 1996, a Florida jury ordered $750,000 be paid to lung cancer patient Gracy Carter, whose suit against the maker of Lucky Strikes was based on company memos indicating knowledge of tobacco's addictiveness when the company said otherwise in public.


Also in 1996, an ill-looking Boris Yeltsin attended a brief swearing-in ceremony for his new term as president of Russia.

In 1997, Elvis Week began in Memphis as fans commemorated the 20th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.

In 2001, U.S. President George Bush announced he would allow federal funding for limited stem-cell research using human embryos.

In 2003, more than 150 candidates signed up to try to replace California Gov. Gray Davis if he lost his recall vote. Davis was voted out of office and replaced by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, an Austrian-born Republican.

In 2004, Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for his role in the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, in which 168 people died.

In 2005, hundreds of Iraqi women staged a sit-in in a central Baghdad square to press for political rights in Iraq's new constitution.

In 2006, British authorities reported the arrest of 25 people believed involved in a major terrorist plot to blow up airplanes flying from Britain to the United States.

In 2007, U.S. investigators looking into the deadly bridge collapse in Minneapolis said there was a possible design flaw and issued a national alert for other bridges. A 2006 federal report cited more than 70,000 U.S. bridges as structurally deficit.


In 2008, Russian leaders say some 1,500 people have died in South Ossetia since Georgia began its military operations in an independence dispute there this week and Russia joined the fray on the second day of the battle. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Georgia's assault on the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali had reduced it to rubble. The crisis rapidly escalated with both Russia and Georgia accusing each other of "ethnic cleansing" in South Ossetia.

A thought for the day: Elvis Presley said, "I get lonesome right in the middle of a crowd."

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