The almanac

By United Press International
Subscribe | UPI Odd Newsletter

Today is Sunday, Aug. 15, the 227th day of 2010 with 138 to go.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include Napoleon Bonaparte in 1769; Scottish novelist Walter Scott in 1771; longtime Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey in 1859; composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor in 1975; actor Ethel Barrymore in 1879; novelist Edna Ferber in 1885; British soldier and writer T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") in 1888; songwriter Charles Tobias ("Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree") in 1898; composer Ned Washington in 1901; bandleader Hugo Winterhalter in 1909; chef Julia Child in 1912 ; activist Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1917; actors Huntz Hall in 1919 and Rose Marie in 1923; conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly in 1924 (age 86); actors Mike Connors in 1925 (age 85) and Jim Dale in 1935 (age 75); civil rights leader Vernon Jordan Jr. in 1935 (age 75); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in 1938 (age 72); journalist Linda Ellerbee in 1944 (age 66); football Hall of Fame member and players' union leader Gene Upshaw in 1945; songwriter Jimmy Webb in 1946 (age 64); Britain's Princess Anne in 1950 (age 60); writer Stieg Larsson in 1954; chef Tom Colicchio in 1962 (age 48); actors Debi Mazar in 1964 (age 46); Debra Messing in 1968 (age 42) and Ben Affleck in 1972 (age 38); and pop singer Joe Jonas in 1989 (age 21).


On this date in history:

In 1914, a U.S. ship sailed from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, officially opening the Panama Canal.

In 1935, humorist Will Rogers and pilot Wiley Post were killed when their plane crashed in Alaska.

In 1947, India and Pakistan won independence from Great Britain.

In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival opened on Max Yasgur's farm near Bethel, N.Y., drawing an estimated 400,000 people for three days of music.

In 1985, South African President P.W. Botha, rejecting Western pleas to abolish apartheid, declared, "I am not prepared to lead white South Africans and other minority groups on a road to abdication and suicide."

In 1987, more than 13.5 inches of rain drenched the Chicago area, causing more than $100 million in damage.

In 1991, the United Nations allowed Iraq to sell up to $1.6 billion worth of oil to obtain money for food and medicine.

In 1993, Pope John Paul II conducted mass for up to 400,000 people at the World Youth Day festival south of Denver.

In 1995, the Justice Department agreed to pay $3.1 million to white separatist Randall Weaver, whose wife and teenage son were killed by FBI sharpshooters during a standoff at his Idaho cabin three years earlier.


In 1998, a bomb blast in Omagh, Northern Ireland, killed 28 people and injured more than 300 others. A 29th victim died a month later. It was the worst attack in 29 years of paramilitary violence in Ulster.

In 2003, Libya admitted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, that claimed 270 lives and agreed to pay reparations that reports say could total $2.7 billion.

In 2004, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anan called on Central Africa governments to curb militias in the border areas of Burundi, Congo, Rwanda and Uganda following the massacre of more than 150 Congolese refugees in Burundi.

Also in 2004, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez survived a referendum to oust him.

In 2006, heavy fighting was reported between Sri Lankan government forces and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern part of the island country.

Also in 2006, Britain sought swift extradition from Pakistan of the reported mastermind in the alleged plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners on flights to and from the United States.

In 2007, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck 90 miles southeast of Lima, Peru, killing an estimated 500 people and injuring hundreds more.

Also in 2007, recovery workers in China found five more bodies at the site of a collapsed river bridge, raising the death toll to 34, reports said.


In 2008, a Gallup tracking poll indicated the two presumptive U.S. presidential nominees were tied in voter preferences. With the nominating conventions this month, the survey said more voters appeared undecided or planning to vote for another candidate. Support for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., dropped slightly to 44 percent, while Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., held steady at 44 percent.

Also In 2008, about two dozen Shiite Pilgrim worshippers were killed in three attacks in Iraq as they made their way toward Karbala to celebrate the birthday of ninth-century imam Muhammad al-Mahdi.

And, Nepal elected a Maoist candidate, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, to be its next prime minister, defeating a man who held the post three times.

In 2009, a week after Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan, rescue crews were still unable to reach 1,300 people trapped in remote mountain villages. The death toll topped 500. Taiwan was the hardest hit of the countries in Morakot's path where rain-soaked mountainsides gave way, taking houses with them.

Also in 2009, days before the Afghan presidential election, a car bomb exploded outside NATO headquarters near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, killing seven people and wounding 90. A Taliban spokesman, claiming responsibility, said the terrorists hoped to kill Americans and disrupt the voting.


A thought for the day: it was Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote, "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"

Latest Headlines