Today in History

AP News
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Posted: Aug 24, 2015 12:00 AM

Today is Monday, August 24, the 236th day of 2015. There are 129 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On August 24, A.D. 79, long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash; an estimated 20,000 people died.

On this date:

In 1572, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of French Protestants at the hands of Catholics began in Paris.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington D.C., setting fire to the Capitol (which was still under construction) and the White House, as well as other public buildings.

In 1821, the Treaty of Cordoba was signed, granting independence to Mexico from Spanish rule.

In 1912, Congress passed a measure creating the Alaska Territory. Congress approved legislation establishing Parcel Post delivery by the U.S. Post Office Department, slated to begin on January 1, 1913.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, 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 Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.

In 1964, the first Roman Catholic Mass celebrated in English took place at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis.

In 1970, an explosives-laden van left by anti-war extremists blew up outside the University of Wisconsin's Sterling Hall in Madison, killing 33-year-old researcher Robert Fassnacht.

In 1989, Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti (juh-MAH'-tee) banned Pete Rose from the game for betting on his own team, the Cincinnati Reds.

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: Tropical Depression 12 strengthened into Tropical Storm Katrina over the central Bahamas. A federal commission voted against closing the New London submarine base in Groton, Connecticut, and the Portsmouth shipyard in Kittery, Maine. Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson apologized for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (OO'-goh CHAH'-vez).

Five years ago: A Chinese passenger jet broke apart and burst into flames as it hit the runway, killing 42 people and injuring 54 others. A suicide bomber and gunmen attacked a hotel near Somalia's presidential palace; at least 32 people were killed, along with two militants. In Florida, political newcomer Rick Scott beat Bill McCollum for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. (Scott went on to win election in November, narrowly defeating Alex Sink.)

One year ago: A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck Northern California, causing extensive damage in Napa and the surrounding area. Peter Theo Curtis, an American freelance journalist kidnapped and held hostage for nearly two years by an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria, was released less than a week after the horrific execution of American journalist James Foley by Islamic militants. South Korea won the Little League World Series championship game, defeating Chicago 8-4 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Actor and Oscar-winning director Lord Richard Attenborough died in London five days before his 91st birthday. At the MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus won Video of the Year for "Wrecking Ball"; Beyonce accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award.

Today's Birthdays: Former Education Secretary Shirley Hufstedler is 90. Actor Kenny Baker ("Star Wars") is 81. Composer-musician Mason Williams is 77. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marshall Thompson (The Chi-Lites) is 73. Rock musician Ken Hensley is 70. Actress Anne Archer is 68. Actor Joe Regalbuto is 66. Actor Kevin Dunn is 60. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is 60. Actor-writer Stephen Fry is 58. Actor Steve Guttenberg is 57. Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is 55. Actor Jared Harris is 54. Talk show host Craig Kilborn is 53. CBS News correspondent Major Garrett is 53. Rock singer John Bush is 52. Actress Marlee Matlin is 50. Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller is 50. Broadcast journalist David Gregory is 45. Country singer Kristyn Osborn (SHeDaisy) is 45. Movie director Ava DuVernay (Film: "Selma") is 43. Actor-comedian Dave Chappelle is 42. Actor James D'Arcy is 42. Actor Carmine Giovinazzo is 42. Actor Alex O'Loughlin is 39. Actress Beth Riesgraf is 37. Actor Chad Michael Murray is 34. Christian rock musician Jeffrey Gilbert (Kutless) is 32. Singer Mika is 32. Actor Blake Berris is 31. Actor Rupert Grint ("Harry Potter" films) is 27.

Thought for Today: "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." — Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher (born and died in the 6th century, B.C.E.).

(Above Advance for Use Monday, August 24)

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