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Sunday, August 24, 2008


Today is Sunday, August 24, the 237th day of 2008.
There are 129 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:
On August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington, setting fire to the Capitol (which was still under construction) and the White House, as well as other public buildings.
On this date:
  • In 79, long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash; an estimated 20,000 people died.
  • In 1572, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of French Protestants at the hands of Catholics began in Paris.
  • In 1857, the New York branch of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Co. failed, sparking the Panic of 1857.
  • In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J., making her the first woman to fly solo, non-stop, from coast to coast.
  • In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty came into force.
  • In 1954, President Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.
  • In 1968, France became the world's fifth thermonuclear power as it exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.
  • In 1970, a bomb planted by anti-war extremists exploded at the University of Wisconsin's Sterling Hall in Madison, killing 33-year-old researcher Robert Fassnacht.
  • In 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida, causing $30 billion in damage; 43 U.S. deaths were blamed on the storm.
  • In 2006, the International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto was no longer a planet, demoting it to the status of a "dwarf planet."
Ten years ago:
  • The United States and Britain agreed to allow two Libyan suspects wanted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 to be tried in a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. (A former Libyan intelligence agent was later convicted of murder; the other suspect was acquitted.)
  • A federal court rejected the Census Bureau's plans to use statistical sampling for the 2000 census, a decision later upheld by the Supreme Court.
  • Actor E.G. Marshall died in Mount Kisco, N.Y., at age 84.
Five years ago:
  • The Justice Department reported the U.S. crime rate in 2002 was the lowest since studies began in 1973.
  • Israeli missiles killed four Hamas fighters, including a fugitive commander.
  • Hurricane Ignacio sideswiped the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula.
  • Former U.S. House Minority Leader John J. Rhodes Jr. died in Mesa, Ariz., at age 86.
  • Japan's Musashi-Fuchu routed East Boynton Beach, Fla., 10-1 to win the Little League World Series.
One year ago:
  • A judge in Inverness, Fla., sentenced John Evander Couey to death for kidnapping 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, raping her and burying her alive.
  • James Ford Seale, a reputed Ku Klux Klansman, was sentenced to three life terms for his role in the 1964 abduction and murder of two black teenagers in southwest Mississippi.
  • The NFL indefinitely suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick without pay after he acknowledged in court papers that he had, indeed, bankrolled gambling on dogfighting and helped kill some dogs not worthy of the pit.
  • Major wildfires broke out in Greece, burning half a million acres and claiming 65 lives in 11 days.
Today's Birthdays:
  • Former Education Secretary Shirley Hufstedler is 83.
  • Actor Kenny Baker ("Star Wars") is 74.
  • Composer-musician Mason Williams is 70.
  • Rhythm-and-blues singer Marshall Thompson (The Chi-Lites) is 66.
  • Rock musician Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep) is 63.
  • Actor Joe Regalbuto is 59.
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is 53.
  • Actor Kevin Dunn (TV: "Samantha Who?") is 53.
  • Actor-writer Stephen Fry is 51.
  • Actor Steve Guttenberg is 50.
  • Baseball Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is 48.
  • Talk show host Craig Kilborn is 46.
  • Rock singer John Bush is 45.
  • Actress Marlee Matlin is 43.
  • Country singer Kristyn Osborn (SheDaisy) is 38.
  • Actor-comedian Dave Chappelle is 35.
  • Actor Carmine Giovinazzo is 35.
  • Actor Chad Michael Murray is 27.
  • Christian rock musician Jeffrey Gilbert (Kutless) is 25.
  • Singer Mika is 25.
  • Actor Rupert Grint ("Harry Potter" films) is 20.
Thought for Today:
"Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I'll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things."
Lawrence D. Bell, American aircraft manufacturer (1894-1956).

"Let's all be careful out there!"