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Today in History

Friday, August 31, 2012

Today is Friday, Aug. 31, the 244th day of 2012. There are 122 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Aug. 31, A.D. 12, Caligula, who was Roman Emperor from A.D. 37 to A.D. 41, was born.

On this date:

In 1886, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.3 devastated Charleston, S.C., killing at least 60 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act prohibiting the export of U.S. arms to belligerents.

In 1941, the radio program "The Great Gildersleeve," a spinoff from "Fibber McGee and Molly" starring Harold Peary, debuted on NBC.

In 1954, Hurricane Carol hit the northeastern Atlantic states; Connecticut, Rhode Island and part of Massachusetts bore the brunt of the storm, which resulted in nearly 70 deaths.

In 1962, the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago became independent of British colonial rule.

In 1972, at the Munich Summer Olympics, American swimmer Mark Spitz won his fourth and fifth gold medals, in the 100-meter butterfly and 800-meter freestyle relay; Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut won gold medals in floor exercise and the balance beam.

In 1980, Poland's Solidarity labor movement was born with an agreement signed in Gdansk that ended a 17-day-old strike.

In 1986, 82 people were killed when an Aeromexico jetliner and a small private plane collided over Cerritos, Calif. The Soviet passenger ship Admiral Nakhimov collided with a merchant vessel in the Black Sea, causing both to sink; up to 448 people reportedly died.

In 1987, the Michael Jackson album "Bad" was released by Epic Records.

In 1991, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan declared their independence, raising to ten the number of republics seeking to secede from the Soviet Union.

In 1992, white separatist Randy Weaver surrendered to authorities in Naples, Idaho, ending an 11-day siege by federal agents that had claimed the lives of Weaver's wife, son and a deputy U.S. marshal.

In 1997, Prince Charles brought Princess Diana home for the last time, escorting the body of his former wife to a Britain that was shocked, grief-stricken and angered by her death in a Paris traffic accident hours earlier.

Ten years ago: Vibraphone virtuoso Lionel Hampton died in New York City at age 94. The Los Angeles Sparks beat the New York Liberty 69-66 to defend their WNBA championship.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush met privately at the Pentagon with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who conveyed their concern about a growing strain on troops and their families from long and repeated combat tours in Iraq. President Bush announced a set of modest proposals to deal with an alarming rise in mortgage defaults. Mike Nifong, the disgraced former district attorney of Durham County, N.C., was sentenced to a day in jail after being held in criminal contempt of court for lying to a judge when pursuing rape charges against three falsely accused Duke University lacrosse players.

One year ago: The Wartime Contracting Commission issued a report saying the U.S. had lost billions of dollars to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan and stood to repeat that in future wars without big changes in how the government awarded and managed contracts for battlefield support and reconstruction projects. Betty Skelton Erde, 85, an aviation and auto racing pioneer once called the fastest woman on Earth, died in The Villages, Florida.

Today's Birthdays: Japanese monster movie actor Katsumi Tezuka is 100. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Frank Robinson is 77. Actor Warren Berlinger is 75. Rock musician Jerry Allison (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 73. Actor Jack Thompson is 72. Violinist Itzhak Perlman is 67. Singer Van Morrison is 67. Rock musician Rudolf Schenker (The Scorpions) is 64. Actor Richard Gere is 63. Olympic gold medal track and field athlete Edwin Moses is 57. Rock singer Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze) is 55. Rock musician Gina Schock (The Go-Go's) is 55. Singer Tony DeFranco (The DeFranco Family) is 53. Rhythm-and-blues musician Larry Waddell (Mint Condition) is 49. Actor Jaime P. Gomez is 47. Baseball pitcher Hideo Nomo is 44. Rock musician Jeff Russo (Tonic) is 43. Singer-composer Deborah Gibson is 42. Rock musician Greg Richling (Wallflowers) is 42. Actor Zack Ward is 42. Golfer Padraig Harrington is 41. Actor Chris Tucker is 40. Actress Sara Ramirez is 37. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamara (Trina & Tamara) is 35.

Thought for Today: "Every man in the world is better than someone else and not as good someone else." -- William Saroyan, American author (1908-1981).

Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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