The almanac

By United Press International  |  Aug. 27, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Monday, Aug. 27, the 240th day of 2012 with 126 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 German philosopher Georg Hegel in 1770; novelist Theodore Dreiser in 1871; English automaker Charles Rolls in 1877; British novelist C.S. Forester in 1899; Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th president of the United States, in 1908; singer/actor Martha Raye in 1916; writers Ira Levin in 1929 and William Least-Heat Moon in 1939 (age 73); singer/actor Tommy Sands in 1937 (age 75); actors Tuesday Weld in 1943 (age 69), Barbara Bach in 1947 (age 65); Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman) in 1952 (age 60); golf Hall of Fame member Bernhard Langer in 1957 (age 55); and actor Sarah Chalke in 1976 (age 36).

On this date in history:

In 1859, the first successful oil well in the United States was drilled near Titusville, Pa.

In 1883, the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history occurred on Krakatoa, a small, uninhabited island west of Sumatra in Indonesia.

In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, outlawing war as a means to settle international disputes, was signed by 15 nations in Paris. World War II began 11 years later.

In 1939, Adolf Hitler served notice on England and France that Germany wanted Danzig and the Polish Corridor.

In 1977, IRA militants killed Louis Mountbatten, a cousin of the queen, by blowing up his boat. It was the IRA's first attack on the royal family.

In 1991, the Soviet republic of Moldavia declared independence and the European Community recognized Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as independent countries.

In 1992, Serbian leaders at the Yugoslav peace conference pledged to close prisoner-of-war camps, end "ethnic cleansing" and work toward peace.

In 1999, two Russian cosmonauts and a French astronaut left Mir to return to Earth, leaving the orbiting Russian space station unmanned for the first time in 13 years.

In 2004, Russian authorities said traces of explosives were found in the wreckage of two airliners that crashed within minutes of each other after takeoff earlier in the week in Moscow. A total of 89 people died in the crashes.

In 2007, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation, effective Sept. 17. He had been embroiled in several controversies, including the firings of nine U.S. attorneys, treatment of detainees, surveillance and other issues.

In 2008, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois was formally elected the Democratic presidential nominee at the party's national convention in Denver. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware was the party's vice presidential nominee.

In 2009, 17-year-old British youth Mike Perham, after a 9-month voyage in a 50-foot yacht, was recognized as the youngest person to sail alone around the world without assistance. At age 14, he had been the youngest to sail solo across the Atlantic.

In 2010, the planned $3 billion merger of Continental and United Airlines was approved by the U.S. Justice Department, clearing the major regulatory hurdle to the creation of the world's biggest airline.

Also in 2010, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it proposed levying its highest fine ever -- $24.2 million -- on American Airlines for failing to correctly inspect 286 planes.

In 2011, Hurricane Irene, an enormous category 1 storm with high wind, heavy rain and pounding surf, made landfall on the North Carolina outer banks, losing some power as a tropical storm as it moved slowly up the Eastern coast but triggering widespread flooding, power outages and major damage in some areas. Authorities put the death toll at 44 in 13 states with damage estimated at more than $7 billion.

A thought for the day: in her novel "Molly Bawn," Margaret Wolfe Hungerford wrote, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

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