The almanac

By United Press International  |  Aug. 3, 2013 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, Aug. 3, the 215th day of 2013 with 150 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 Elisha Graves Otis, inventor of the modern elevator, in 1811; World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle and "Monkey Trial" defendant John Scopes, both in 1900; orchestra leader Ray Bloch in 1902; Mexican actor Dolores del Rio in 1905; band leader Les Elgart in 1917; authors P. D. James in 1920 (age 93) and Leon Uris in 1924; football Hall of Fame Coach Marv Levy in 1925 (age 88); singer Tony Bennett in 1926 (age 87); football Hall of Fame member Lance Alworth in 1940 (age 73); TV personality and lifestyle consultant Martha Stewart in 1941 (age 72); actors Martin Sheen in 1940 (age 73) and Jay North in 1951 (age 62); film director John Landis in 1950 (age 63); hockey Hall of Fame member Marcel Dionne in 1951 (age 62); pro football quarterback Tom Brady in 1977 (age 36); and actor Evangeline Lilly in 1979 (age 34).

On this date in history:

In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain, seeking a western route to India, with a convoy of three small ships -- the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria -- and fewer than 100 crewmen. They reached land at Guanahani, an island in the Caribbean., on Oct. 12, 1492.

In 1914, Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium. The following day, Britain declared war on Germany and World War I was under way.

In 1958, the U.S. nuclear submarine "Nautilus" crossed under the North Pole.

In 1981, U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike. The strikers were fired within one week.

In 1990, the prime ministers of East and West Germany agreed to move up unification to early fall and rescheduled all-German elections for Oct. 14.

In 2004, the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor was opened to the public for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In 2005, in the first emergency repair conducted in space, astronauts fixed a potentially dangerous problem by removing two strips of protruding cloth from the underside of the space shuttle Discovery.

In 2006, U.S. Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, told Congress that sectarian violence in Baghdad was "probably as bad as I've seen it" and predicted a possible civil war.

In 2007, the U.S. Congress passed a bill allowing the National Security Agency to monitor email and telephone communications between the United States and foreign countries without a court warrant if terrorism was believed to be involved.

In 2008, once exiled Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose works revealed the harshness of the Soviet penal system, died at the age of 89. The Nobel Prize-winning author of "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" had been reported ill for years.

In 2009, Massachusetts is the most Democratic state in the nation, topping a field of 30 states and the District of Columbia, a Gallup Poll analysis indicated. The survey said only four states -- Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Alaska -- could be considered solidly Republican.

In 2010, a driver for a beer and wine distributorship in Manchester, Conn., allegedly caught stealing beer, went on a shooting rampage during a disciplinary hearing, killing eight people and himself.

In 2011, ailing former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was wheeled into a Cairo courtroom on a hospital bed for the beginning of his trial on charges of corruption and complicity in the killing of protesters.

In 2012, the U.S. Labor Department said the unemployment rate ticked up from 8.2 to 8.3 percent in July but 160,000 jobs were added, better than the 100,000 expected.

A thought for the day: "Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing." -- Tony Blair, who was Britain's prime minister for 10 years.

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