The almanac

By United Press International  |  Aug. 9, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, Aug. 9, the 222nd day of 2012 with 144 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 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; basketball Hall of Fame member Bob Cousy in 1928 (age 84); Australian tennis star Rod Laver in 1938 (age 74); comedian David Steinberg in 1942 (age 70); heavyweight boxer Ken Norton in 1943 (age 69); actors Sam Elliott in 1944 (age 68), Melanie Griffith in 1957 (age 55) and Amanda Bearse in 1958 (age 54); pop singer Whitney Houston in 1963; hockey Hall of Fame member Brett Hull in 1964 (age 48); football Hall of Fame member Deion Sanders in 1967 (age 45); and actors Gillian Anderson and Eric Bana, both in 1968 (age 44).

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 1854, "Walden" was published by Henry David Thoreau.

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, actor 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 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 2001, U.S. President George W. 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 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 about 1,500 people had 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.

In 2009, Typhoon Morakot slammed into Taiwan with more than 80 inches of rain, triggering floods and massive mudslides. The death toll was at least 500 and thousands of homes were destroyed.

In 2010, BP, the international oil giant, said it had added $3 billion to its $20 billion fund for victims of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Obama administration sent a $167.9 million bill -- its fifth -- to BP and others for cleaning up the spill.

In 2011, the Obama administration announced the first fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks, expected to save U.S. businesses that operate and own the commercial vehicles about $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program.

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

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