The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Monday, Aug. 20, the 233rd day of 2012 with 133 to follow.

The moon is waxing. 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 Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States, in 1833; British poet Edgar Guest in 1881; horror writer H.P. Lovecraft in 1890; baseball Hall of Fame member Al Lopez in 1908; Finnish architect Eero Saarinen in 1910; author Jacqueline Susann in 1918; country singer Jim Reeves in 1923; boxing promoter Don King in 1931 (age 81); former U.S. senator and diplomat George Mitchell in 1933 (age 79); former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in 1941; singer/songwriter Isaac Hayes in 1942; former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1944; journalist Connie Chung in 1946 (age 66); rock star Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame in 1948 (age 64); science fiction writer Greg Bear in 1951 (age 61); musician John Hiatt in 1952 (age 60); TV personality Al Roker in 1954 (age 58); and actors Joan Allen in 1956 (age 56) and Amy Adams in 1974 (age 38).


On this date in history:

In 1741, Danish navigator Vitus Jonas Bering discovered what is now called Alaska.

In 1858, theories by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace regarding evolution were published in British scholarly journal.

In 1882, "1812 Overture" by Peter Tchaikovsky was played in public for the first time.

In 1968, approximately 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the "Prague Spring" -- a brief period of liberalization in the communist country.

In 1977, the first U.S. Voyager spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., bound for Jupiter and Saturn.

In 1982, U.S. President Ronald Reagan announced that a contingent of U.S. Marines would join French and Italian troops as peacekeepers in Beirut.

In 1986, postal worker Patrick Henry Sherrill killed 14 fellow workers and wounded six others in the Edmond, Okla., post office before killing himself.

In 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush declared that Americans and other foreigners held by Iraq are "hostages" and warned he would hold Iraq responsible for their "safety and well-being."

In 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed into law an increase in the minimum wage in two steps from $4.25 to $5.15 an hour.


In 1997, NATO forces seized thousands of weapons being kept at police stations in Serbian Bosnia's largest city.

In 1998, U.S. missiles struck sites in Afghanistan and Sudan said to be linked with terrorists. The attacks were in response to the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania 13 days earlier.

In 2002, a group of Iraqis opposed to the regime of Saddam Hussein took over the Iraqi Embassy in Berlin for five hours before releasing their hostages and surrendering.

In 2003, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended after refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the state supreme court building.

In 2005, in his first visit to his German homeland since becoming pope, Benedict XVI told a group of Muslims that Islam and Christianity must work together to defeat terrorism.

In 2007, the governor of Iraq's southern al-Muthana province and five of his aides were killed when a roadside bomb struck their convoy. Mohammed Ali Hassan Al-Hassani was a member of the largest Shiite political group in Parliament.


In 2008, Spanish officials have put the death toll at 153 in the Madrid crash of a Spanair jet on takeoff. Twenty-seven people were said to have survived though injured. Observers told authorities the left jet engine was on fire as the plane took off.

In 2009, the Libyan convicted of the 1968 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Scotland killing 270 people, was freed from prison on compassionate grounds. Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who had been sentenced to life in prison in 2001, was said to be suffering from terminal prostate cancer. He died in May 2012.

In 2010, with U.S. combat troops leaving Iraq, the U.S. State Department announced a planned increase in civilian contractors to train police, help keep the peace and other duties.

Also in 2010, the Taliban killed at least 21 guards in a night attack on a construction site in Afghanistan's Helmand River Valley.

In 2011, two U.S. hikers who said they had wandered into Iran by mistake were sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison for espionage. They were freed one month later and returned to the United States.

A thought for the day: in the movie "Klondike Annie," Mae West said, "Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before."


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