The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Wednesday, Aug. 22, the 235th day of 2012 with 131 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 French composer Claude Debussy in 1862; Charles Jenkins, inventor of airplane brakes and the conical drinking cup, in 1867; writer, critic Dorothy Parker in 1893; heart surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley and science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, both in 1920; actor Honor Blackman in 1925 (age 87); French fashion designer Marc Bohan in 1926 (age 86); retired U.S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf in 1934 (age 78); writer E. Annie Proulx in 1935 (age 77); baseball Hall of Fame members Carl Yastrzemski in 1939 (age 73) and Paul Molitor in 1956 (age 56); actors Valerie Harper in 1939 (age 73) and Cindy Williams in 1947 (age 65); swimming Hall of Fame member Diana Nyad in 1949 (age 63); and singer/songwriter Tori Amos in 1963 (age 49).


On this date in history:

In 1851, the U.S.-built schooner America outran a fleet of Britain's finest ships around England's Isle of Wight in an international race that became known as America's Cup.

In 1881, American humanitarians Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons founded the National Red Cross.

In 1911, Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris. It was recovered four months later.

In 1922, Michael Collins, a founder of the Irish Republican Army and a key figure in Ireland's independence movement, was assassinated by political opponents.

In 1968, Pope Paul VI arrived in Colombia, becoming the first pontiff to visit South America.

In 1986, Kerr-McGee Corp. agreed to pay the estate of nuclear industry worker Karen Silkwood more than $1 million, ending a 10-year legal battle waged by her family over her exposure to radioactive materials at the company's Oklahoma plant.

In 1995, U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill., was convicted of having sex with an underage girl, leading to his resignation later in the year.

In 2004, two masked robbers stole Edvard Munch's "The Scream" and another painting from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. "The Scream" was stolen once before, 10 years earlier, but was recovered within three months.


In 2005, the last Jewish settlers moved peacefully out of the Gaza Strip after carrying the Torah scrolls down the main street of Netzarim, last of 21 settlements to be evacuated.

In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided to make the "morning-after" contraceptive pill known as Plan B available without a prescription to people 18 and older.

In 2008, six Americans arrested in China for protesting Chinese rule over Tibet were given 10-day detention sentences.

In 2009, the Afghanistan presidential election was marred by fraud and intimidation, a watchdog group said. The Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan said its 7,000 observers reported stuffed ballot boxes, voting by proxy and other irregularities. In a slow vote count, Hamid Karzai appeared assured of re-election.

In 2010, in the wake of Australia's first parliamentary election in 70 years in which no party won a majority, the ruling Labor Party and Julia Gillard, the nation's first female prime minister, retained power and set about forming a new government.

In 2011, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington opened to the public on the anniversary of the civil rights leader's 1963 landmark "I Have a Dream" speech. The $120 million memorial, 25 years in the making, is on a 4-acre site on the National Mall.


Also in 2011, Libya rebel leaders pondered whether one of three Moammar Gadhafi sons captured in the Tripoli takeover should be tried at home or let the International Criminal Court have him. Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, like his father, was wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes.

A thought for the day: Adlai Stevenson said, "... shouting is not a substitute for thinking and reason is not the subversion but the salvation of freedom."

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