Today in history


Today is Wednesday, August 19, the 231st day of 2015. There are 134 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 19, 1955, torrential rains caused by Hurricane Diane resulted in severe flooding in the northeastern U.S., claiming some 200 lives.

On this date:

In A.D. 14, Caesar Augustus, Rome’s first emperor, died at age 76 after a reign lasting four decades; he was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius.

In 1812, the USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off Nova Scotia during the War of 1812, earning the nickname “Old Ironsides.”

In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces landed at Benedict, Maryland, with the objective of capturing Washington D.C.

In 1918, “Yip! Yip! Yaphank,” a musical revue by Irving Berlin featuring Army recruits from Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York, opened on Broadway.

In 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.

In 1936, the first of a series of show trials orchestrated by Soviet leader Josef Stalin began in Moscow as 16 defendants faced charges of conspiring against the government (all were convicted and executed).

In 1942, during World War II, about 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France, suffering more than 50-percent casualties.

In 1964, The Beatles opened their first full-fledged U.S. tour as they performed at San Francisco’s Cow Palace.

In 1974, U.S. Ambassador Rodger P. Davies was fatally wounded by a bullet that penetrated the American embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus, during a protest by Greek Cypriots.

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford won the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Kansas City.

In 1980, 301 people aboard a Saudi Arabian L-1011 died as the jetliner made a fiery emergency return to the Riyadh airport.

In 1991, Soviet hard-liners made the stunning announcement that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had been removed from power. (The coup attempt collapsed two days later.)

Ten years ago: A Texas jury found pharmaceutical giant Merck and Co. liable for the death of a man who’d taken the once-popular painkiller Vioxx, awarding his widow $253.4 million in damages. (Texas caps on punitive damages reduced that figure to about $26 million; a Texas court overturned the verdict in May 2008, but the widow has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her case.) Attackers firing Katyusha rockets narrowly missed a U.S. amphibious assault ship docked at the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, but killed a Jordanian soldier. Britain’s former Northern Ireland chief, Mo Mowlam, died in Canterbury, England; she was 55.

Five years ago: The last American combat brigade exited Iraq, seven years and five months after the U.S.-led invasion began. A federal grand jury in Washington indicted seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens for allegedly lying to Congress about steroid use. (However, Clemens’ trial in 2011 ended in a mistrial when the jury was shown inadmissible evidence by prosecutors; Clemens was acquitted in a retrial in 2012.)

One year ago: A video released by Islamic State militants purported to show the beheading of American journalist James Foley as retribution for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. The New York Islanders announced the team had been sold to a former Washington Capitals co-owner Jon Ledecky and London-based investor Scott Malkin.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor L.Q. Jones is 88. Actress Debra Paget is 82. USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Famer Renee Richards is 81. Former MLB All-Star Bobby Richardson is 80. Actress Diana Muldaur is 77. Rock musician Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith) is 76. Singer Johnny Nash is 75. Actress Jill St. John is 75. Actor and former U.S. senator Fred Thompson is 73. Singer Billy J. Kramer is 72. Country singer-songwriter Eddy Raven is 71. Rock singer Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) is 70. Former President Bill Clinton is 69. Actor Gerald McRaney is 68. Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore, is 67. Actor Jim Carter is 67. Rock musician John Deacon (Queen) is 64. Actor-director Jonathan Frakes is 63. Political consultant Mary Matalin is 62. Actor Peter Gallagher is 60. Actor Adam Arkin is 59. Singer-songwriter Gary Chapman is 58. Actor Martin Donovan is 58. Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Anthony Munoz is 57. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ivan Neville is 56. Actor Eric Lutes is 53. Actor John Stamos is 52. Actress Kyra Sedgwick is 50. Actor Kevin Dillon is 50. Country singer Lee Ann Womack is 49. TV reporter Tabitha Soren is 48. Country singer-songwriter Mark McGuinn is 47. Actor Matthew Perry is 46. Country singer Clay Walker is 46. Rapper Fat Joe is 45. Olympic gold medal tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez is 44. Actress Tracie Thoms is 40. Actor Callum Blue is 38. Country singer Rissi (REE’-see) Palmer is 34. Actress Erika Christensen is 33. Actress Melissa Fumero is 33. Pop singer Missy Higgins is 32. Actor Peter Mooney is 32. Actress Tammin Sursok is 32. Country singer Karli Osborn is 31. Olympic silver medal snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis is 30. Actor J. Evan Bonifant is 30. Rapper Romeo is 26.

Thought for Today: “Cheer up! The worst is yet to come!” — Philander Chase Johnson, American author (1866-1939).

By The Associated Press

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