The almanac

United Press International

Today is Wednesday, July 17, the 198th day of 2013 with 167 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include English clergyman and author Isaac Watts in 1674; financier John Jacob Astor in 1763; mystery writer Erle Stanley Gardner in 1889; actor James Cagney in 1899; TV personality Art Linkletter in 1912; comedian Phyllis Diller in 1917; Olympics movement official Juan Antonio Samaranch in 1920; actors Donald Sutherland and Diahann Carroll and musician Peter Schickele, all in 1935 (age 78); Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei in 1939 (age 74); rock musician Spencer Davis, also in 1939 (age 74); basketball Hall of Fame member Connie Hawkins in 1942 (age 71); actors Lucie Arnaz in 1951 (age 62) and David Hasselhoff in 1952 (age 61); singers Nicolette Larson and Phoebe Snow, both in 1952; German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 1954 (age 59).

On this date in history:

In 1936, the Spanish Civil War began with an army revolt led by Gen. Francisco Franco.

In 1938, Douglas Corrigan took off from Floyd Bennett Field in New York for a return flight to California but lost his bearings in the clouds, he said, and flew instead to Ireland. He became an instant celebrity called "Wrong Way" Corrigan.

In 1955, Arco, Idaho, a town of 1,300 people, became the first community in the world to receive all its light and power from atomic energy.

Also in 1955, Disneyland opened in Anaheim, Calif.

In 1975, three U.S. and two Soviet spacemen linked their orbiting Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft for historic handshakes 140 miles above Earth.

In 1981, 114 people were killed and 200 injured in the collapse of two suspended walkways at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Kansas City, Mo.

In 1996, TWA Flight 800, New York to Paris, crashed off the Long Island coast, killing all 230 people aboard.

In 1998, Bill Clinton became the first sitting U.S. president to be subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury as independent counsel Kenneth Starr continued his investigation into the Monica Lewinsky affair.

In 2006, an earthquake under the Indian Ocean triggered a tsunami that struck the Indonesian island of Java, killing about 700 people. Around 200 were reported missing and thousands were rendered homeless.

In 2007, a Brazilian airliner skidded off a runway as it landed at San Paulo's Congonhas Airport and crashed into a building. Authorities placed the death toll at 200.

In 2008, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft told a congressional committee he doesn't believe waterboarding is torture. Ashcroft said he thinks a report on the simulated drowning procedure would be serious but not torture.

In 2009, Walter Cronkite, renowned television news broadcaster often referred to as the most trusted man in America, died at age 92.

In 2011, the phone hacking and alleged bribery scandal that toppled Rupert Murdoch's popular British tabloid News of the World reached out in all directions, embarrassing the British government, forcing the head of Scotland Yard to resign, implicating several present and former Murdoch executives and fanning conspiracy theories when a reporter who helped blow the whistle on the situation was found dead.

In 2012, the Boy Scouts of America announced a policy of banning homosexuals from membership would remain in effect.

A thought for the day: Isaac Watts said, "Learning to trust is one of life's most difficult tasks."

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