The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Wednesday, Aug. 17, the 229th day of 2011 with 136 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include frontiersman Davy Crockett in 1786; movie producer Samuel Goldwyn in 1882; black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey in 1887; actors Monty Woolley in 1888 and Mae West in 1893; Watergate figure W. Mark Felt, known as "Deep Throat," in 1913; actors Maureen O'Hara in 1920 (age 91) and Robert De Niro in 1943 (age 68); U.S. spy plane aviator Francis Gary Powers in 1929; British poet laureate Ted Hughes in 1930; Nobel literature laureate V.S. Naipaul in 1932 (age 79); pop singer Belinda Carlisle in 1958 (age 53); and actor Sean Penn in 1960 (age 51).


On this date in history:

In 1807, Robert Fulton began the first American steamboat trip between Albany, N.Y., and New York City.

In 1915, a hurricane struck Galveston, Texas, killing 275 people.

In 1961, the East German government began building the Berlin Wall.

In 1978, three Americans completed the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by balloon, landing their helium-filled Double Eagle II near Paris.

In 1987, kidnapped U.S. journalist Charles Glass escaped and was rescued after being held hostage for 62 days in Lebanon.

Also in 1987, Rudolf Hess, Hitler's former deputy, was found strangled in Berlin's Spandau Prison. He was 93.

In 1991, the Lebanese government granted amnesty to former Christian army commander Gen. Michel Aoun and allowed him to leave the French Embassy.

In 1992, filmmaker Woody Allen and Mia Farrow split after 12 years together. Allen said he was in love with the actress's adult daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.

In 1996, the Reform Party nominated Texas businessman Ross Perot for president.

In 1998, addressing the American people, U.S. President Bill Clinton admitted he had a relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky that was "not appropriate."

In 1999, at least 16,000 people were killed and 20,000 more injured when a strong earthquake rocked Turkey.


In 2001, Ford Motor Co. announced it would dismiss up to 5,000 of its salaried employees -- 10 percent of its managers and engineers.

In 2003, loss of revenue from a fire-damaged Iraqi oil pipeline was estimated at $7 million a day with repairs expected to take a month.

In 2004, eight British men arrested with reconnaissance plans for the New York Stock Exchange and other targets have been charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to use radioactive material, toxic gas, chemicals or explosives.

In 2005, reports say three suicide car bombings in the center of Baghdad killed at least 43 people and injured 80 others. Meanwhile, a series of bombs exploded simultaneously across Bangladesh killing at least 115 people.

Also in 2005, Israeli soldiers and police began moving Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip.

In 2006, a U.S. District Court judge in Detroit ruled that the National Security Agency wiretapping program was illegal. U.S. President George Bush ordered an appeal.

Also in 2006, several U.S. cigarette makers were convicted in a Washington civil racketeering suit of conspiring to deceive the public about the dangers of smoking.

In 2008, Iran reported it had tested a new rocket capable of carrying a satellite into orbit.


Also in 2008, at least 160 people were killed in Vietnam by torrential rain-caused flooding in Southeast Asia.

In 2009, in what prosecutors called the largest identity theft in U.S. history, three suspects were charged with the hacking theft of more than 130 million credit and debit numbers with the data shipped off to servers in California, Illinois and Europe.

Also in 2009, most Americans asked said they thought the infusion of cash into the economy cost too much and had done too little to end the recession, a USA Today/Gallup Poll indicated. The survey said 57 percent of respondents said the stimulus package had no impact on the economy or was making it worse.

In 2010, a federal court jury in Chicago convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, forced out of office on corruption charges, of making false statements to federal agents, one of 24 counts against him. Jurors were deadlocked on other charges including an accusation he tried to sell U.S. President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Also in 2010, a suicide bomber set off a device at an Iraqi army recruiting office, killing at least 48 recruits and soldiers and wounding 120 others.


A thought for the day: it was Alexander Woollcott who said, "All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal or fattening."

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