Today in History

Published 12:18 am Friday, August 31, 2018

Today is Friday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2018. There are 122 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 31, 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.

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On this date:

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

In 1939, the first issue of Marvel Comics, featuring the Human Torch, was published by Timely Publications in New York.

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 some 70 deaths.

In 1965, the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in voting to establish the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In 1969, boxer Rocky Marciano died in a light airplane crash in Iowa, a day before his 46th birthday.

In 1980, Poland’s Solidarity labor movement was born with an agreement signed in Gdansk (guh-DANSK’) 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, California. 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 (ooz-bek-ih-STAHN’) and Kyrgyzstan (keer-gih-STAHN’) 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. (Weaver was acquitted of murder and all other charges in connection with the confrontation; he was convicted of failing to appear for trial on firearms charges and was sentenced to 18 months in prison but given credit for 14 months he’d already served.)

In 1994, the Irish Republican Army declared a cease-fire. Russia officially ended its military presence in the former East Germany and the Baltics after half a century.

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 earlier that day.

Ten years ago: With Hurricane Gustav approaching New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin (NAY’-gin) pleaded with the last of its residents to get out, imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on those who were staying and warned looters they would be sent directly to prison.

Five years ago: Short of support at home and allies abroad, President Barack Obama stepped back from a missile strike against Syria and instead asked Congress to support a strike against President Bashar Assad’s regime for suspected use of chemical weapons. British television interviewer David Frost, 74, died aboard a cruise ship bound for the Mediterranean.

One year ago: Rescuers began a block-by-block search of tens of thousands of Houston homes, looking for anyone who might have been left behind in the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey. The Trump administration ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and offices in Washington and New York, intensifying tensions between Washington and Moscow; Russia was given 48 hours to comply. Iraq’s prime minister said the northern town of Tal Afar had been “fully liberated” from the Islamic State group after a nearly two-week operation. The scope of the fake accounts scandal at Wells Fargo expanded, with the bank now saying 3.5 million accounts may have been opened without customers’ permission.

Today’s Birthdays: Japanese monster movie actor Katsumi Tezuka (“Godzilla”) is 106. Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson is 83. Actor Warren Berlinger is 81. Rock musician Jerry Allison (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 79. Actor Jack Thompson is 78. Violinist Itzhak Perlman is 73. Singer Van Morrison is 73. Rock musician Rudolf Schenker (The Scorpions) is 70. Actor Richard Gere is 69. Actor Stephen Henderson is 69. Olympic gold medal track and field athlete Edwin Moses is 63. Rock singer Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze) is 61. Rock musician Gina Schock (The Go-Go’s) is 61. Singer Tony DeFranco (The DeFranco Family) is 59. Rhythm-and-blues musician Larry Waddell (Mint Condition) is 55. Actor Jaime P. Gomez is 53. Former baseball pitcher Hideo Nomo is 50. Rock musician Jeff Russo (Tonic) is 49. Singer-composer Deborah Gibson is 48. Rock musician Greg Richling (Wallflowers) is 48. Actor Zack Ward is 48. Golfer Padraig Harrington is 47. Actor Chris Tucker is 46. Actress Sara Ramirez is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamara (Trina & Tamara) is 41.