The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Saturday, Aug. 18, the 231st day of 2012 with 135 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 Virginia Dare, first English settler born in the American colonies, in 1587; Italian composer Antonio Salieri in 1750; explorer Meriwether Lewis in 1774; Chicago department store founder Marshall Field in 1834; songwriter Otto Harbach ("Smoke Gets In Your Eyes") in 1873; cosmetics businessman Max Factor in 1904; former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in 1917; actor Shelley Winters in 1920; former first lady Rosalynn Carter in 1927 (age 85); film director Roman Polanski in 1933 (age 79); baseball Hall of Fame member Roberto Clemente in 1934; Olympic gold medal winning decathlete Rafer Johnson in 1935 (age 77); and actors Robert Redford in 1937 (age 75), Martin Mull in 1943 (age 69), Patrick Swayze in 1952, Denis Leary in 1957 (age 55), Madeleine Stowe in 1958 (age 54), Edward Norton and Christian Slater, both in 1969 (age 43) and Malcolm-Jamal Warner in 1970 (age 42).


On this date in history:

In 1227, Genghis Khan, the Mongol leader who forged an empire stretching from the east coast of China west to the Aral Sea, died in camp during a campaign against the Chinese kingdom of Xi Xia.

In 1587, Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents to be born in the New World, was born at Roanoke Island, part of what would become North Carolina.

In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was ratified by Tennessee, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land.

In 1960, the first commercially produced oral contraceptives went on the market.

In 1963, James Meredith graduated from the University of Mississippi. He was the first African-American to attend the school and his enrollment touched off deadly riots, necessitating the use of armed guards.

In 1976, U.S. President Gerald Ford was nominated in Kansas City, Mo., to head the Republican presidential ticket but lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter in November.

In 1977, Julius "Groucho" Marx, leader of the comedy troupe the Marx Brothers, died at the age of 87.


In 1982, Lebanon and the Palestine Liberation Organization approved a plan for withdrawal of PLO fighters from besieged West Beirut. Israel approved it the following day.

In 1990, U.S. warships fired warning shots over the bows of two Iraqi tankers, the first salvos of a U.S. embargo.

In 1992, a convoy of 17 buses carrying 1,000 women and children left war-torn Sarajevo in the second such evacuation from Bosnia in a week.

In 1998, in the wake of his admission of an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, U.S. President Bill Clinton was urged to resign by several members of Congress and more than 100 daily newspapers.

In 2002, Abu Nidal, one of the most feared of the Palestinian terrorists, was found shot to death, an apparent suicide.

In 2003, authorities estimated as many as 10,000 people died because of the heat in France during a European heat wave.

In 2005, Dennis Rader, the Kansas man who called himself the BTK killer -- for bind, torture, kill -- and confessed to slaying 10 people, was sentenced to 10 consecutive life-in-prison terms.

In 2008, threatened by impeachment and badgered by faltering economy and security, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation.


In 2009, Kim Dae-jung, who served as South Korean president from 1998-2003, died after a prolonged bout of pneumonia. A Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a strong democracy advocate, he was 85.

In 2010, U.S. combat troops completed their withdrawal from Iraq, where 50,000 American troops remained, primarily as trainers, U.S. military officials said. More than 4,400 U.S. troops died in combat that began in March 2003.

Also in 2010, at least 18 children were killed in the collapse of a school building caused by heavy monsoon rains in northern India.

In 2011, Libyan rebels seized the port city of Zawiyah and its oil refinery, only 31 miles west of capitol city Tripoli, in their escalating effort to unseat Moammar Qadhafi.

Also in 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama formally called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign "for the sake of the Syrian people." Obama also announced "unprecedented sanctions" to further isolate Syria financially.

A thought for the day: Georges Bernanos wrote, "The most dangerous of our calculations are those we call illusions."

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