The almanac

United Press International

Today is Tuesday, July 17, the 199th day of 2012 with 167 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include English clergyman and author Isaac Watts in 1674; financier John Jacob Astor in 1763; mystery writer Erle Stanley Gardner in 1889; actor James Cagney in 1899; TV personality Art Linkletter in 1912; comedian Phyllis Diller in 1917 (age 95); Olympics movement official Juan Antonio Samaranch in 1920; actors Donald Sutherland and Diahann Carroll and musician Peter Schickele, all in 1935 (age 77); Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei in 1939 (age 73); rock musician Spencer Davis in 1939 (age 73); basketball Hall of Fame member Connie Hawkins in 1942 (age 70); actors Lucie Arnaz in 1951 (age 61) and David Hasselhoff in 1952 (age 60); singers Nicolette Larson and Phoebe Snow, both in 1952; German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 1954 (age 58).


On this date in history:

In 1936, the Spanish Civil War began with an army revolt led by Gen. Francisco Franco.

In 1938, Douglas Corrigan took off from Floyd Bennett Field in New York for a return flight to California but lost his bearings in the clouds, he said, and flew instead to Ireland. He became an instant celebrity and was forever after known as "Wrong Way" Corrigan.

In 1955, Arco, Idaho, a town of 1,300 people, became the first community in the world to receive all its light and power from atomic energy.

Also in 1955, Disneyland opened in Anaheim, Calif.

In 1975, three U.S. and two Soviet spacemen linked their orbiting Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft for historic handshakes 140 miles above Earth.

In 1981, 114 people were killed and 200 injured when two suspended walkways collapsed at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Kansas City, Mo.

In 1993, the Midwest flood knocked out the Bayview Bridge connecting Quincy, Ill., with West Quincy, Mo., the last remaining crossing over the Mississippi River for about 200 miles.

In 1996, TWA Flight 800, New York to Paris, crashed off the Long Island coast, killing all 230 people aboard.

In 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton became the first sitting U.S. president to be subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury as independent counsel Kenneth Starr continued his investigation into the Monica Lewinsky affair.


In 2003, an attack on a convoy in Iraq killed one soldier and pushed the death toll of U.S. troops in the Iraqi conflict to 148, one more than died in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

In 2005, 59 people were killed and 86 wounded when a suicide bomber set off his device next to a gas tanker in Musayyib, south of Baghdad, in one of the deadliest attacks since the U.S. invasion.

In 2006, an earthquake under the Indian Ocean triggered a tsunami that struck the Indonesian island of Java, killing about 700 people. Around 200 were reported missing and thousands were rendered homeless.

Also in 2006, the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon continued almost steadily. At one point, Hezbollah shelling of Israel was reported running at a clip of a missile a minute while Israel's air force stepped up bombing runs.

In 2007, a Brazilian airliner skidded off the runway as it landed at San Paulo's Congonhas airport and crashed into a nearby building. Authorities placed the death toll at 200, reportedly the worst airline crash in Brazil's history.

In 2008, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft told a congressional committee he doesn't believe waterboarding is torture. Ashcroft said he thinks a report on the simulated drowning procedure would be serious but not torture.


In 2009, Walter Cronkite, renowned television news broadcaster often referred to as the most trusted man in America and a national institution, died at age 92.

In 2010, officials say Mexico's drug wars were escalating with the use of car bombs for the first time in four years as well as hand grenades stolen from military arsenals.

Also in 2010, suspected militants opened fire on vehicles being escorted by security forces in tribal Pakistan killing 18 civilians.

In 2011, the phone hacking and alleged bribery scandal that toppled Rupert Murdoch's popular British tabloid News of the World reached out in all directions, embarrassing the British government, forcing the head of Scotland Yard to resign, implicating several present and former Murdoch executives and fanning conspiracy theories when a reporter who helped blow the whistle on the situation was found dead.

A thought for the day: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe called architecture "frozen music."

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