The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Wednesday, July 31, the 212th day of 2013 with 153 to follow.

The moon is waning. 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 Leo. They include author and jurist James Kent in 1763; Confederate Army guerrilla leader William Quantrill in 1837; Kmart founder S.S. Kresge in 1867; pollster Elmo Burns Roper Jr. in 1900; economist Milton Friedman and former TV talk-show host and columnist Irv Kupcinet, both in 1912; sports announcer Curt Gowdy in 1919; recording industry executive Ahmet Ertegun in 1923; actors Don Murray in 1929 (age 84), Ted Cassidy in 1932; France Nuyen in 1939 (age 74), Geraldine Chaplin in 1944 (age 69) and Richard Griffiths in 1947; musicians Gary Lewis (age 68) and Bob Welch, both in 1945; Australian tennis star Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1951 (age 62); businessman and NBA team owner Mark Cuban in 1958 (age 55); actors Wesley Snipes in 1962 (age 51) and Dean Cain in 1966 (age 47); and author J.K. Rowling in 1965 (age 48).


On this date in history:

In 1498, on his third voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Trinidad.

In 1556 Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order of Roman Catholic missionaries and educators, died in Rome.

In 1792, director David Rittenhouse laid the cornerstone in Philadelphia for the U.S. Mint, the first building of the federal government.

In 1964, Ranger 7, an unmanned U.S. lunar probe, took the first close-up images of the moon.

In 1974, Watergate figure John Ehrlichman was sentenced to 20 months in prison for his role in the break-in at the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. Ellsberg was the Pentagon consultant who leaked the "Pentagon Papers," documents about the war in Vietnam.

In 1991, the U.S. Senate overturned a 43-year-old law and voted to allow women to fly military warplanes in combat.

In 1995, the Walt Disney Co. announced it was buying Capital Cities/ABC for $19 billion.

In 2002, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, a reputed Russian crime figure, was arrested in Italy on charges he tried to fix two ice skating events at the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.

In 2006, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, two weeks before his 80th birthday, formally transferred power temporarily to his brother Raul in preparation for intestinal surgery.


In 2009, the widening war in Afghanistan claimed a record monthly toll in July with 76 coalition troops killed, 45 of them Americans.

In 2011, with default by the U.S. government just days away and after months of frustrating debate, U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced an agreement that would raise the debt ceiling by up to $2.4 trillion in two stages, enough to keep borrowing into 2013.

In 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, visiting Cairo, said newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi "is his own man" and is committed to democracy.

A thought for the day: Milton Friedman said, "Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it."

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