Today is Monday, August 17, the 229th day of 2015. There are 136 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 17, 1915, a mob in Cobb County, Georgia, lynched Jewish businessman Leo Frank, 31, whose death sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan had been commuted to life imprisonment. (Frank, who’d maintained his innocence, was pardoned by the state of Georgia in 1986.)
On this date:
In 1807, Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat began heading up the Hudson River on its successful round trip between New York and Albany.
In 1863, Federal batteries and ships began bombarding Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor during the Civil War, but the Confederates managed to hold on despite several days of pounding.
In 1943, the Allied conquest of Sicily during World War II was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina.
In 1945, Indonesian nationalists declared their independence from the Netherlands. The George Orwell novel “Animal Farm,” an allegorical satire of Soviet Communism, was first published in London by Martin Secker & Warburg.
In 1962, East German border guards shot and killed 18-year-old Peter Fechter, who had attempted to cross the Berlin Wall into the western sector.
In 1969, Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi coast as a Category 5 storm that was blamed for 256 U.S. deaths, three in Cuba.
In 1978, the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight ended as Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman landed their Double Eagle II outside Paris.
In 1982, the first commercially produced compact discs, a recording of ABBA’s “The Visitors,” were pressed at a Philips factory near Hanover, West Germany.
In 1985, more than 1,400 meatpackers walked off the job at the Geo. A. Hormel and Co.’s main plant in Austin, Minnesota, in a bitter strike that lasted just over a year.
In 1987, Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, died at Spandau Prison at age 93, an apparent suicide.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton gave grand jury testimony via closed-circuit television from the White House concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky; he then delivered a TV address in which he denied previously committing perjury, admitted his relationship with Lewinsky was “wrong,” and criticized Kenneth Starr’s investigation.
In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed when a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Turkey.
Ten years ago: Israeli security forces poured into four Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, beginning the forcible removal of protesters who’d refused orders to leave the area ahead of a deadline. Three car bombs exploded in Baghdad, killing up to 43 people. Hundreds of anti-war vigils were held nationwide, part of an effort spurred by Cindy Sheehan’s protest near President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch in memory of her son Casey, who was killed in Iraq.
Five years ago: A mistrial was declared on 23 corruption charges against ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (blah-GOY’-uh-vich), who was accused of trying to sell President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat; the jury convicted him on one charge, that of lying to the FBI. (Blagojevich was convicted of 17 counts of corruption in a retrial and sentenced to 14 years in prison, but a federal appeals court dismissed five of the counts in July 2015.) A suicide bomber in Iraq detonated nail-packed explosives strapped to his body, killing 61 people, many of them army recruits.
One year ago: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on the remains of Michael Brown, a black Missouri teenager whose fatal shooting by a white police officer spurred a week of rancorous and sometimes violent protests in suburban St. Louis. Inbee Park of South Korea successfully defended her title in the LPGA Championship, beating Brittany Lincicome with a par on the first hole of a playoff to end the United States’ major streak at three.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Maureen O’Hara is 95. Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (jahng zuh-MEEN’) is 89. Author V.S. Naipaul is 83. Former MLB All-Star Boog Powell is 74. Actor Robert DeNiro is 72. Movie director Martha Coolidge is 69. Rock musician Gary Talley (The Box Tops) is 68. Rock musician Sib Hashian is 66. Actor Robert Joy is 64. International Tennis Hall of Famer Guillermo Vilas is 63. Rock singer Kevin Rowland (Dexy’s Midnight Runners) is 62. Rock musician Colin Moulding (XTC) is 60. Country singer-songwriter Kevin Welch is 60. Olympic gold medal figure skater Robin Cousins is 58. Singer Belinda Carlisle is 57. Author Jonathan Franzen is 56. Actor Sean Penn is 55. Jazz musician Everette Harp is 54. Rock musician Gilby Clarke is 53. Singer Maria McKee is 51. Rock musician Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes) is 50. Rock musician Jill Cunniff (kuh-NIHF’) is 49. Actor David Conrad is 48. Singer Donnie Wahlberg is 46. College Basketball Hall of Famer and retired NBA All-Star Christian Laettner is 46. Rapper Posdnuos (PAHS’-deh-noos) is 46. International Tennis Hall of Famer Jim Courier is 45. Retired MLB All-Star Jorge Posada is 44. TV personality Giuliana Rancic is 41. Actor Mark Salling is 33. Actor Bryton James is 29. Actor Brady Corbet (kohr-BAY’) is 27. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Gracie Gold is 20.
Thought for Today: “It is not love that is blind, but jealousy.” — Lawrence Durrell, British-born author (1912-1990).