The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Wednesday, Aug. 29, the 242nd day of 2012 with 124 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 English philosopher John Locke in 1632; author and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. in 1809; Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in 1813; automotive inventor Charles Kettering in 1876; actors Barry Sullivan in 1912 and Ingrid Bergman in 1915; jazz saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker in 1920; British filmmaker Richard Attenborough in 1923 (age 89); jazz and pop singer Dinah Washington in 1924; filmmaker William Friedkin ("The Exorcist") in 1935 (age 78); U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Republican nominee for president in 2008, in 1936 (age 76); actor Elliott Gould in 1938 (age 74); TV personality Robin Leach ("Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous") in 1941 (age 71); entertainer Michael Jackson in 1958; and actor Rebecca De Mornay in 1959 (age 53).


On this date in history:

In 1533, Atahualpa, last of the Inca rulers, was strangled under orders of Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro. The Inca Empire died with him.

In 1949, the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb at a remote test site at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan.

In 1965, U.S. astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad landed safely to end the 8-day orbital flight of Gemini 5.

In 1973, U.S. District Judge John Sirica ordered U.S. President Richard Nixon to turn over secret Watergate tapes. Nixon refused and appealed the order.

In 1994, Israel and the PLO signed a new agreement to shift West Bank administrative functions to the Palestinian National Authority.

In 1995, Eduard Shevardnadze, the head of state in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, was slightly injured when a bomb exploded near his motorcade in Tbilisi.

In 2003, a car bomb explosion killed more than 80 worshippers at the Imam Ali Mosque in the Iraqi Shiite holy city of Najaf.

In 2004, the Summer Olympics came to a close in Athens, Greece. The United States won 103 medals, 35 of them gold, led by swimmer Michael Phelps who took home six gold and two bronze medals.


In 2005, packing high storm surges and sustained winds of more than 140 miles an hour, Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore on the Gulf Coast, its eye crossing northeast Louisiana, just east of New Orleans. It inflicted severe damage in New Orleans and along coastlines of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, with high winds and killer floods. Hurricane Katrina was the costliest storm in history with reports of more than $125 billion in damage and more than 1,800 killed.

Also in 2005, the average U.S. pump price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline rose to a record $2.60.

In 2007, South Korea negotiators said the Taliban would release 19 hostages held in Afghanistan for 41 days after South Korea promised to pull its troops from Afghanistan by year's end and ban its Christian missionary work there.

In 2007, The U.S. Census Bureau reported that median household income in the United States increased to $48,201 in 2006, an increase of about $800 more than the previous year.

In 2008, a dam break in Nepal sent flood waters from the Kosi River racing across northern India. At least 75 deaths were reported and more than 2 million people were chased from their homes.


Also in 2008, at least 32 people were reported killed in an earthquake that struck China's Sichman province. Authorities said more than 58,000 homes were damaged.

In 2009, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who died Aug. 25 after a 15-month battle with brain cancer, was buried at Washington's Arlington National Cemetery near his brothers John and Robert.

In 2010, thirty-three Chilean miners trapped deep underground for more than three weeks talked with their families for the first time through a special phone hookup. Officials said it could take three or four months to get to the men, who took refuge in a safety pocket and were being fed from above.

Also in 2010, a long-dormant volcano erupted on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggering the evacuation of about 14,000 people.

In 2011, Mexican police arrested five alleged members of the Zetas drug cartel accused of setting fire to a Monterrey casino that killed 52 people last week.

Also in 2011, the Nepalese Parliament, where no political party has a majority, elected a Maoist, Babuarm Bhattarai, as prime minister after the parties failed to form a consensus government.

A thought for the day: Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, "A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life experience."


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