UPI Almanac for Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015

A historic spacecraft launch ... on this date in history.
By United Press International  |  Aug. 20, 2015 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Thursday, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2015 with 133 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States, in 1833; Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen in 1873; British poet Edgar Guest in 1881; horror writer H.P. Lovecraft in 1890; baseball Hall of Fame member Al Lopez in 1908; Finnish architect Eero Saarinen in 1910; author Jacqueline Susann in 1918; country singer Jim Reeves in 1923; boxing promoter Don King in 1931 (age 84);George Mitchell, former U.S. senator/diplomat, in 1933 (age 82); former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in 1941; singer/songwriter Isaac Hayes in 1942; former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1944; journalist Connie Chung in 1946 (age 69); singer Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) in 1948 (age 67); science fiction writer Greg Bear in 1951 (age 64); musician John Hiatt in 1952 (age 63); TV personality Al Roker in 1954 (age 61); actor Joan Allen in 1956 (age 59); actor Amy Adams in 1974 (age 41).


On this date in history:

In 1741, Danish navigator Vitus Jonas Bering discovered what is now called Alaska.

In 1858, theories by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace regarding evolution were published in a British scholarly journal.

In 1968, about 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the "Prague Spring" -- a brief period of efforts to democratize socialism in the country.

In 1977, the first U.S. Voyager spacecraft (one of two launched in 1977) left Cape Canaveral, Fla., bound for Jupiter and Saturn. (The two Voyager space probes are still transmitting data.)

In 1986, postal worker Patrick Henry Sherrill killed 14 fellow workers and wounded six others in the Edmond, Okla., post office before killing himself.

In 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed into law an increase in the minimum wage in two steps from $4.25 to $5.15 an hour.

In 1998, U.S. missiles struck sites in Afghanistan and Sudan said to be linked with terrorists. The attacks were in response to the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania 13 days earlier.

In 2003, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended after refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the state Supreme Court building.

In 2005, in his first visit to his German homeland since becoming pope, Benedict XVI told a group of Muslims that Islam and Christianity must work together to defeat terrorism.

In 2008, a Spanair jetliner crashed on takeoff in Madrid, killing 154 people and injuring many others. Observers said the left jet engine was on fire as the plane took off.

In 2009, the Libyan convicted of the 1968 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Scotland killing 270 people, was freed from prison on compassionate grounds. Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who had been sentenced to life in prison in 2001, had prostate cancer. (He died in May 2012.)

In 2010, with U.S. combat troops leaving Iraq, the State Department announced a planned increase in civilian contractors to train police, help keep the peace and perform other duties.

In 2011, two U.S. hikers who said they had wandered into Iran by mistake were sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison for espionage. (They were freed one month later and returned to the United States.)

In 2012, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and businesswoman Darla Moore became the first female members of Georgia's Augusta National Golf Club, site of the Masters, one of golf's most prestigious events. The club had long been under attack by women's rights groups, and others, for its all-male membership.

In 2013, celebrated novelist Elmore Leonard died in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. He was 87.

In 2014, mudslides caused by heavy rains killed about 70 people in residential areas on the outskirts of Hiroshima, Japan.


A thought for the day: "Hollywood is like an empty wastebasket." -- Ginger Rogers

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