The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Saturday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2013 with 122 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include Roman Emperor Caligula in A.D. 12; Italian educator Maria Montessori in 1870; actor Fredric March in 1897; entertainer Arthur Godfrey in 1903; writer William Saroyan in 1908; English astronomer Alfred Bernard Lovell in 1913; actor Richard Basehart in 1914; journalist Daniel Schorr in 1916; lyricist Alan Jay Lerner in 1918; comedian Buddy Hackett in 1924; actor James Coburn in 1928; baseball Hall of Fame member Frank Robinson, first African-American to manage a Major League Baseball team, in 1935 (age 78); black militant Eldridge Cleaver, also in 1935; violinist Itzhak Perlman (age 68), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Van Morrison (age 68) and rock musician Bob Welch, all in 1945; actor Richard Gere in 1949 (age 64); Olympic track star Edwin Moses in 1955 (age 58); Jordanian Queen Rania and singer/actor Debbie Gibson, both in 1970 (age 43); actor Chris Tucker in 1972 (age 41); and Olympic gold medal skier Ted Ligety in 1984 (age 29).


On this date in history:

In 1897, Thomas Edison was awarded a patent for his movie camera, the Kinetograph.

In 1888, prostitute Mary Ann Nichols became the first reported victim of the London serial killer known as "Jack the Ripper."

In 1903, a Packard automobile completed a 52-day journey from San Francisco to New York, becoming the first car to cross the nation under its own power.

In 1986, an Aeromexico DC-9 collided with a single-engine plane over Cerritos, Calif., killing 82 people, including 15 on the ground.

In 1991, the Soviet republics of Uzbekistan and Kirghizia declared independence, leaving five republics in the Soviet Union.

In 1992, white separatist Randy Weaver surrendered, ending an 11-day siege of his Idaho mountain cabin that cost the lives of his wife and teenage son and a U.S. marshal.

In 1994, the Irish Republican Army declared a cease-fire following six months of secret talks with Britain.

In 1997, Britain's Princess Diana died of injuries a few hours after a car accident in Paris that killed her companion, Dodi Fayed, and their driver.

In 2003, a Russian K-159 nuclear-powered submarine was lost in the Barents Sea, claiming the lives of nine of its 10-member crew. Russian authorities blamed negligence by navy officials.


In 2004, in the first major attacks inside Israel in nearly six months, Palestinian suicide bombers blew up two buses almost simultaneously in Beersheba, killing at least 16 passengers and wounding more than 80.

In 2005, close to 1,000 people, most of whom were Shiite pilgrims, died in a stampede and the partial collapse of a bridge over the Tigris River in northern Baghdad.

In 2006, Norwegian authorities recovered the world-famous painting "The Scream" by Edvard Munch, stolen at gunpoint, along with Munch's "Madonna," from an Oslo museum nine days earlier.

In 2009, the Dow Jones industrial average had its best August in nine years, closing at 9,496.28, a one-month gain of 3.5 percent. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also showed gains.

In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the end of the American combat mission in Iraq, seven years after the war began.

In 2011, the United States imposed new sanctions on Syria, freezing Syrian government assets and banning petroleum product imports from the country.

In 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama, visiting Fort Bliss, Texas, told troops about an expansion in mental health and suicide-prevention services for veterans. They cheered when he said, "If you're hurting, it's not a sign of weakness to seek help; it's a sign of strength."


A thought for the day: in a final statement for publication after his death, author and playwright William Saroyan said: "Everyone has got to die but I have always believed an exception would be made in my case. Now what?"

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