The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Saturday, Aug. 25, the 238th day of 2012 with 128 to follow.

The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Uranus. Evening stars are Neptune, Saturn and Mars.


Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include Czar Ivan IV ("Ivan the Terrible") of Russia, in 1530; author Bret Harte in 1836; Joshua Lionel Cowen, inventor of the electric toy train, in 1877; dancer/actor Ruby Keeler in 1910; "Pogo" cartoonist Walt Kelly in 1913; actors Van Johnson in 1916 and Mel Ferrer in 1917; composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein in 1918; former Alabama Gov. George Wallace in 1919; Monty Hall, host of "Let's Make A Deal," in 1921 (age 91); tennis champion Althea Gibson in 1927; actor Sean Connery in 1930 (age 82); TV personality Regis Philbin in 1931 (age 81); actors Tom Skerritt in 1933 (age 79) and Anne Archer in 1947 (age 65); writer Frederick Forsyth in 1938 (age 74); baseball Hall of Fame member Rollie Fingers in 1946 (age 66); writer Martin Amis, actor John Savage and rock singer Gene Simmons of KISS, all in 1949 (age 63); singer/songwriter Elvis Costello in 1954 (age 58); film director Tim Burton in 1958 (age 54); country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and actor Ally Walker, both in 1961 (age 51); actors Blair Underwood and Joanne Whalley, both in 1964 (age 48); television cook Rachael Ray in 1968 (age 44); and supermodel Claudia Schiffer in 1970 (age 42).


On this date in history:

In 1609, Galileo Galilei exhibits his first telescope in Venice.

In 1718, the city of New Orleans was founded.

In 1875, Matthew Webb, a 27-year-old British merchant navy captain, became the first person known to successfully swim the English Channel.

In 1944, U.S. troops liberated Paris from the Nazis in World War II.

In 1967, a sniper assassinated American Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell in Arlington, Va.

In 1985, Samantha Smith, 13, was killed with her father and six other people in a plane crash in Maine. Her 1983 letter to Soviet President Yuri Andropov about her fear of nuclear war earned her a visit to the Soviet Union.

In 1991, the Soviet republic of Byelorussia, now known as Belarus, declared independence.

In 1992, researchers reported that cigarette smoking significantly boosts the risk of developing cataracts, a leading cause of blindness.

In 1993, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York in connection with a number of terrorist activities, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Also in 1993, on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record high of 3,652.09.


In 1999, the FBI admitted it fired pyrotechnic tear-gas canisters at the Branch Davidian cult compound near Waco, Texas, on the day in 1993 that the standoff came to a fiery end but said the containers bounced away harmlessly.

In 2003, at least 45 people died and more than 61 were injured when two car bombs exploded in a crowded area of Mumbai.

In 2004, the World Health Organization warned that polio was on the verge of becoming a major epidemic in Africa.

In 2006, Pulkova Ailines Flight 612 crashed near the Russian border in Ukraine, killing 171 people.

In 2007, back-to-back explosions thought to be set off by terrorists killed at least 44 people and injured more than 50 in Hyderabad, India. Authorities uncovered explosives at 16 other locations in and near the city.

In 2008, two Afghan army commanders were fired after a U.S.-led coalition airstrike killed 89 civilians, many of them children. Afghan President Hamid Karzai blamed the casualties on a failure of coordination between coalition forces and the Afghan army.

Also in 2008, Israel freed 198 Palestinian prisoners to show support for the leadership of the Fatah party governing the West Bank. Nearly 9,000 Palestinians remained in Israeli prisons for offenses ranging from attacks to membership in militant groups, including one behind bars since 1977.


In 2009, U.S. Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy, D-Mass., a liberal fixture in the Senate for 46 years, died of brain cancer at the age of 77.

Also in 2009, the Obama administration projected the U.S. budget deficit would reach $9 trillion over the next decade, $2 trillion more than expected.

In 2010, bombings in 13 Iraqi cities killed at least 50 people and injured hundreds more.

Also in 2010, dozens of high school girls and teachers at a high school in Kabul, Afghanistan, were sickened by poison gas, the ninth such case across the country. The Taliban, accused in earlier attacks, sought to keep girls from going to school.

In 2011, Warren Buffett announced that his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway planned to invest $5 billion in the troubled Bank of America. The bank faced an investigation into foreclosure practices.

Also in 2011, Mexican gunmen stormed a Monterrey casino and set the building on fire, killing at least 57 people, mostly women.

A thought for the day: John Berryman said, "Something has been said for sobriety but very little."

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