Today in History – Friday, Aug. 19, 2016


Today is Friday, Aug. 19, the 232nd day of 2016. There are 134 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 19, 1991, Soviet hard-liners stunned the world by announcing that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had been removed from power. (The coup attempt collapsed two days later.)

On this date:

In A.D. 14, Caesar Augustus, Rome’s first emperor, died at age 76 after a reign lasting four decades; he was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius.

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In 1812, the USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off Nova Scotia during the War of 1812, earning the nickname “Old Ironsides.”

In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces landed at Benedict, Maryland, with the objective of capturing Washington D.C.

In 1918, “Yip! Yip! Yaphank,” a musical revue by Irving Berlin featuring Army recruits from Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York, opened on Broadway.

In 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.

In 1936, the first of a series of show trials orchestrated by Soviet leader Josef Stalin began in Moscow as 16 defendants faced charges of conspiring against the government (all were convicted and executed).

In 1942, during World War II, about 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France, suffering more than 50-percent casualties.

In 1955, torrential rains caused by Hurricane Diane resulted in severe flooding in the northeastern U.S., claiming some 200 lives.

In 1964, The Beatles opened their first full-fledged U.S. tour as they performed at San Francisco’s Cow Palace.

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford won the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Kansas City.

In 1980, 301 people aboard a Saudi Arabian L-1011 died as the jetliner made a fiery emergency return to the Riyadh airport.

In 1991, rioting erupted in the Brooklyn, New York, Crown Heights neighborhood after a black 7-year-old, Gavin Cato, was struck and killed by a Jewish driver from the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch community; three hours later, a gang of blacks fatally stabbed Yankel Rosenbaum, a rabbinical student.

Ten years ago: Israeli commandos raided a Hezbollah stronghold deep in Lebanon. (Israel said the raid was launched to stop arms smuggling from Iran and Syria to the militant Shiite fighters; Lebanon called the operation a “flagrant violation” of a U.N. truce.)

Five years ago: Three men — Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley — who’d spent nearly two decades in prison for the nightmarish slayings of three Cub Scouts in Arkansas, went free after they agreed to a legal maneuver allowing them to maintain their innocence while acknowledging prosecutors had enough evidence against them. Danell Leyva beat two-time defending champion Jonathan Horton for his first title at the U.S. gymnastics championships in St. Paul, Minnesota.

One year ago: Longtime Subway pitchman Jared Fogle agreed in federal court in Indianapolis to plead guilty to allegations that he’d paid for sex acts with minors and received child pornography. (Fogle pleaded guilty in Nov. 2015 to one count each of distributing and receiving child porn and traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a child, and was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison.) Islamic State militants beheaded 81-year-old Khaled al-Asaad, a leading Syrian antiquities scholar who’d spent most of his life looking after the ancient ruins of Palmyra.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor L.Q. Jones is 89. Actress Debra Paget is 83. USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Famer Renee Richards is 82. Former MLB All-Star Bobby Richardson is 81. Actress Diana Muldaur is 78. Rock musician Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith) is 77. Singer Johnny Nash is 76. Actress Jill St. John is 76. Singer Billy J. Kramer is 73. Country singer-songwriter Eddy Raven is 72. Rock singer Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) is 71. Former President Bill Clinton is 70. Actor Gerald McRaney is 69. Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore, is 68. Actor Jim Carter is 68. Rock musician John Deacon (Queen) is 65. Actor-director Jonathan Frakes is 64. Political consultant Mary Matalin is 63. Actor Peter Gallagher is 61. Actor Adam Arkin is 60. Singer-songwriter Gary Chapman is 59. Actor Martin Donovan is 59. Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Anthony Munoz is 58. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ivan Neville is 57. Actor Eric Lutes is 54. Actor John Stamos is 53. Actress Kyra Sedgwick is 51. Actor Kevin Dillon is 51. Country singer Lee Ann Womack is 50. TV reporter Tabitha Soren is 49. Country singer-songwriter Mark McGuinn is 48. Actor Matthew Perry is 47. Country singer Clay Walker is 47. Rapper Fat Joe is 46. Olympic gold medal tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez is 45. Actress Tracie Thoms is 41. Actor Callum Blue is 39. Country singer Rissi (REE’-see) Palmer is 35. Actress Erika Christensen is 34. Actress Melissa Fumero is 34. Pop singer Missy Higgins is 33. Actor Peter Mooney is 33. Actress Tammin Sursok is 33. Country singer Karli Osborn is 32. Olympic silver medal snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis is 31. Actor J. Evan Bonifant is 31. Rapper Romeo is 27.

Thought for Today: “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” — Howard H. Aiken, American computer pioneer (1900-1973).

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