The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Wednesday, Aug. 15, the 228th day of 2012 with 138 to go.

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 French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1769; Scottish novelist Walter Scott in 1771; longtime Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey in 1859; British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor in 1875; actor Ethel Barrymore in 1879; novelist Edna Ferber in 1885; 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 ("Dead End Kids") in 1919 and Rose Marie in 1923 (age 89); conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly in 1924 (age 88); actors Mike Connors in 1925 (age 87) and Jim Dale in 1935 (age 77); civil rights leader Vernon Jordan Jr. in 1935 (age 77); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in 1938 (age 74); journalist Linda Ellerbee in 1944 (age 68); football Hall of Fame member and players' union leader Gene Upshaw in 1945; songwriter Jimmy Webb in 1946 (age 66); Britain's Princess Anne in 1950 (age 62); Swedish writer Stieg Larsson (the Millennium Trilogy) in 1954; chef Tom Colicchio in 1962 (age 50); actors Debi Mazar in 1964 (age 48); Debra Messing in 1968 (age 44) and Ben Affleck in 1972 (age 40); and pop singer Joe Jonas in 1989 (age 23).


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 29 people and injured more than 300 others. 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, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez survived a referendum to oust him.

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 bodies at the site of a collapsed river bridge, raising the death toll to 34.

In 2008, a Gallup tracking poll indicated the two presumptive U.S. presidential nominees were tied in voter preferences. 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 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.

In 2010, China's economy moved past Japan's in the second quarter of 2010 to become the second largest in the world, trailing only the United States.

In 2011, Google, the Internet search giant, agreed to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, a move that would open access to cellphone and tablet markets and provide another major competitive step against main rival Apple.

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?"


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