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Thursday, August 21, 2008

This day in history

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[August 21, 2008]  (AP)  Today is Thursday, Aug. 21, the 234th day of 2008. There are 132 days left in the year.

CivicToday's highlight in history:

In the early hours of Aug. 21, 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the "Prague Spring" liberalization drive led by Alexander Dubcek.

On this date:

In 1831, former slave Nat Turner led a violent insurrection in Virginia. (He was later executed.)

In 1858, the first of seven debates between Illinois senatorial contenders Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took place.

In 1878, the American Bar Association was founded in Saratoga, N.Y.

In 1911, Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris. (The painting turned up two years later, in Italy.)

In 1940, exiled Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky died in Mexico City from wounds inflicted by an assassin the day before.

In 1944, the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union and China opened talks at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington that helped pave the way for establishment of the United Nations.

In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state as President Eisenhower signed an executive order, five months after he'd signed the Hawaiian statehood bill.

In 1963, martial law was declared in South Vietnam as police and army troops began a crackdown on Buddhist anti-government protesters.

In 1983, Philippine opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino Jr., ending a self-imposed exile in the United States, was shot dead moments after stepping off a plane at Manila International Airport.


In 1991, the hard-line coup against Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev collapsed in the face of a popular uprising led by Russian federation President Boris N. Yeltsin.

Ten years ago: Samuel H. Bowers, a 73-year-old former Ku Klux Klan leader, was convicted in Hattiesburg, Miss., of ordering a 1966 firebombing that killed civil rights activist Vernon Dahmer. (Bowers died in prison in November 2006 at age 82.)

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Funeral Directors

Five years ago: Alabama's top judge, Chief Justice Roy Moore, refused to back down in his fight to keep a Ten Commandments monument and lashed out at his colleagues who'd ordered it removed from the rotunda of the state judicial building. Palestinian militants abandoned a two-month-old truce after Israel killed a Hamas leader in a missile attack. The French government acknowledged that as many as 10,000 people might have died in the country's heat wave. Paul Hamm put together a near-perfect routine on the high bar to become the first American man to win the all-around gold medal at the World Gymnastics Championship.

One year ago: Hurricane Dean struck Mexico's coast as a Category 5 storm. The postwar Iraqi tribunal trying former Saddam Hussein aides opened its third proceeding, putting former Defense Minister Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali," and 14 other men on trial. Space shuttle Endeavour safely returned to Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Today's birthdays: Actor-director Melvin Van Peebles is 76. Singer Kenny Rogers is 70. Actor Clarence Williams III is 69. Rock-and-roll musician James Burton is 69. Singer Harold Reid (The Statler Brothers) is 69. Singer Jackie DeShannon is 64. Actress Patty McCormack is 63. Actress Loretta Devine is 59. CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith is 57. Singer Glenn Hughes is 56. Country musician Nick Kane is 54. Actress Kim Cattrall is 52. Rock singer Serj Tankian (System of a Down) is 41. Actress Carrie-Anne Moss is 38. Rock musician Liam Howlett (Prodigy) is 37. Actress Alicia Witt is 33. Singer Kelis is 29. Singer Melissa Schuman is 24. Actor Cody Kasch is 21. Actress Hayden Panettiere is 19. Actor RJ Mitte (TV: "Breaking Bad") is 16.

Thought for today: "Of course, there are a lot of ways you can treat the blues, but it will still be the blues." -- Count Basie, American bandleader (born this day in 1904, died 1984)

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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