The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Thursday, Aug. 23, the 236th day of 2012 with 130 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 Virgo. They include British economist Arnold Toynbee in 1852; poet and novelist Edgar Lee Masters in 1868; British radio pioneer William Eccles in 1875; Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, hero of Bataan in World War II, in 1883; humorist Will Cuppy in 1884; cartoonist Ernie Bushmiller (creator of "Nancy") in 1905; dancer/actor/director Gene Kelly in 1912; bandleader/singer Bob Crosby in 1913; baseball Hall of Fame member George Kell in 1922; actor Vera Miles in 1929 (age 83) and Barbara Eden in 1934 (age 78); political comedian Mark Russell in 1932 (age 80); football Hall of Fame member Sonny Jurgensen in 1934 (age 78); rock drummer Keith Moon of "The Who" in 1946; actor Shelley Long and singer/actor Rick Springfield both in 1949 (age 63); Jordan's Queen Noor in 1951 (age 61); actors Jay Mohr (age 42) and River Phoenix, both in 1970; and pro basketball star Kobe Bryant in 1978 (age 34).


On this date in history:

In 1305, Scottish patriot leader William Wallace was executed for treason.

In 1926, the death of silent screen idol Rudolph Valentino sent his fans into hysterical mourning.

In 1927, despite worldwide demonstrations in their behalf, Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed for murder.

In 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact. Less than two years later, Germany launched a blitzkrieg attack on Russia.

In 1982, Beirut Christian leader Beshir Gemayel was elected president of Lebanon. He was assassinated less than one month later and was succeeded by his brother, Amin.

In 1991, Russian Republic President Boris Yeltsin pressured Soviet President Gorbachev into replacing his Cabinet in the wake of a failed coup.

In 1999, Berlin once again became the capital of Germany.

In 2003, a former priest who had been in the forefront of the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church was strangled, apparently by another inmate, at a Massachusetts prison.

In 2006, Amnesty International accused Israel of war crimes for allegedly targeting civilians in its fight with Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.

In 2007, flooding in the upper U.S. Midwest drove thousands of people from their homes. Hardest hit were Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Wildfires, meanwhile, raged out of control in California, Idaho and Montana.


Also in 2007, military authorities investigated the crash of a U.S. helicopter that apparently malfunctioned and crashed in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, killing 14 military personnel aboard.

In 2008, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., confirmed he chose U.S. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his vice presidential running mate at the top of the Democratic Party ticket.

Also in 2008, Afghan President Hamid Karzai blamed U.S. airstrikes for the deaths of 95 civilians.

In 2009, authorities in Athens, Greece, urged 20,000 people to evacuate as raging wildfires threatened a suburb of the city.

In 2010, rescue workers at a caved-in gold and copper mine in northern Chile made contact with 33 men trapped nearly 2,300 feet underground for 17 days who had found refuge in a small emergency shelter that had water and ventilation. In a remarkable, unrelenting effort, all hands were rescued two months later.

In 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, unusually strong for the eastern United States, rattled Washington and Virginia with shockwaves as far north as Canada. The quake was the strongest to hit Virginia in more than a century, briefly causing a power shutdown at a nuclear plant. The Washington Monument and the National Cathedral in Washington were damaged by the quake.


Also in 2011, a U.N. report said more than 2,200 people had been killed in Syria's 5-month long crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.

A thought for the day: Ogden Nash said, "Don't try to rewrite what the moving finger has writ and don't ever look over your shoulder."

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