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Sept. 20, 2008 - Today In History

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« on: September 19, 2008, 11:14:07 pm »

The Associated Press


Today is Saturday, Sept. 20, the 264th day of 2008. There are 102 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 20, 1519, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan and his crew set out from Spain on five ships on a voyage to find a western passage to the Spice Islands in Indonesia.

(Magellan was killed enroute, but one of his ships eventually circled the world.)

On this date:

In 1870, Italian troops took control of the Papal States, leading to the unification of Italy.

In 1873, panic swept the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in the wake of railroad bond defaults and bank failures.

In 1881, Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st president of the United States, succeeding the assassinated James A. Garfield.

In 1947, former New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia died.

In 1958, civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. was seriously wounded during a book signing at a New York City department store when a black woman, Izola Curry, stabbed him in the chest. (Curry was later found mentally incompetent.)

In 1962, black student James Meredith was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Gov. Ross R. Barnett. (Meredith was later admitted.)

In 1967, the Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 was christened by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in Clydebank, Scotland.

In 1973, in their so-called "battle of the sexes," tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome.

In 1978, John Vorster, prime minister of white-ruled South Africa since 1966, announced his resignation.

In 1984, a suicide car bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy annex in north Beirut, killing a dozen people.

Ten years ago:

After 2,632 consecutive games, Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles sat out a game against the New York Yankees, ending a 16-year run.

Muriel Humphrey Brown, widow of Vice President Hubert Humphrey and his brief successor in the U.S. Senate, died in Minneapolis at age 86.

Five years ago:

Aquila al-Hashimi, a member of Iraq's Governing Council, was shot in Baghdad; she died five days later.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi easily won re-election as head of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

A sightseeing helicopter crashed in the Grand Canyon, killing all seven on board.

Five of six children riding on an all-terrain vehicle in Coffee County, Ga., were killed when they were hit by a motorist.

One year ago:

President Bush declined to criticize Blackwater USA, a security company in Iraq accused in a shooting that resulted in civilian deaths, saying investigators needed to determine if the guards violated rules governing their operations.

Thousands of chanting demonstrators filled the streets of Jena, La., in support of six black teenagers initially charged with attempted murder in the beating of a white classmate.

Floyd Landis lost his expensive and explosive case when two of three arbitrators upheld the results of
a test that showed the 2006 Tour de France champion had used synthetic testosterone to fuel his spectacular comeback victory. (Landis forfeited his Tour title and was subject to a two-year ban, retroactive to Jan. 30, 2007.)

Today's Birthdays:

Singer Gogi Grant is 84.

Actress-comedian Anne Meara is 79.

Actress Sophia Loren is 76.

Rock musician Chuck Panozzo is 61.

Hockey player Guy LaFleur is 57.

Jazz musician Peter White is 54.

Actress Betsy Brantley is 53.

Actor Gary Cole is 52.

TV news correspondent Deborah Roberts is 48.

Rock musician Randy Bradbury (Pennywise) is 44.

Actress Kristen Johnston is 41.

Rock singers Gunnar Nelson and Matthew Nelson are 41.

Rock musician Ben Shepherd is 40.

Rock musician Rick Woolstenhulme (Lifehouse) is 29.

Rapper Yung Joc is 26.

Thought for Today:

"I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail."

William Faulkner,
American author


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