The almanac

By United Press International  |  Aug. 4, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, Aug. 4, the 217th day of 2012 with 149 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1792; Scottish comedian Harry Lauder in 1870; Queen Elizabeth, mother of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, in 1900; legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong in 1901; Swedish architect Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving 100,000 Jews from the Nazis during World War II, in 1912; former White House reporter Helen Thomas in 1920 (age 92); actors Richard Belzer in 1944 (age 68) and Billy Bob Thornton in 1955 (age 57); football Hall of Fame member John Riggins in 1949 (age 63); actor Daniel Dae Kim in 1968 (age 44); race car driver Jeff Gordon in 1971 (age 41); and U.S. President Barack Obama in 1961 (age 51).

On this date in history:

In 1735, the standard of truth as a defense against a claim of libel was established in the American colonies when John Peter Zenger, publisher of a New York City newspaper, was acquitted of libel charges.

In 1914, Britain declared war on Germany, touching off World War I. The United States initially declared itself neutral.

In 1944, acting on a tip from a Dutch informer, the Nazi Gestapo captured 15-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family in a sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse.

In 1949, more than 6,000 people were killed when an earthquake leveled 50 towns in Ecuador.

In 1958, Billboard magazine introduced its "Hot 100" chart, covering the 100 most popular pop singles in the country. The first No. 1 was Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool."

In 1964, the remains of three slain civil rights workers, whose disappearance on June 21 garnered national attention, were found buried in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Miss.

In 1972, Arthur Bremer was found guilty of severely wounding Alabama Gov. George Wallace who was campaigning for president. Bremer was sentenced to 63 years in prison.

In 1984, the African Republic of Upper Volta changed its named to Burkina Faso, which means "the land of upright men."

In 2006, authorities in Phoenix arrested two men in 24 "serial shooter" attacks that killed 14 people in Arizona over the previous year.

In 2007, The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation calling on most utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power.

In 2007 sports, Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit his 755th career home run tying Hank Aaron's all-time major league record. He broke the record three days later and finished the season at 762 home runs. His achievements, however, were clouded by accusations of using performance-enhancing steroids.

In 2008, an attack killed 16 policemen and injured 16 more at a border police station in northwest China's Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang. The attack came days before the start of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In 2010, a U.S. federal judge struck down the voter-approved same-sex marriage ban in California, calling the law discriminating and unconstitutional.

In 2011, investors retreated as worries of weak U.S. and European economies continued to rattle confidence on Wall Street. The U.S. Labor Department said 1,000 fewer jobless claims were filed this week, but investors generally were concerned with months of disappointing data in manufacturing, housing, unemployment and consumer spending.

A thought for the day: Charles Sanders Peirce wrote, "Every man is fully satisfied that there is such a thing as truth or he would not ask any question."

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