Today in History


By The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, Sept. 20, the 264th day of 2016. There are 102 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 20, 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival, lasting 16 days, opened in France. Among the films honored with the Golden Palm were “The Lost Weekend,” ”Brief Encounter,” ”Rome, Open City” and “Pastoral Symphony”; “The Battle of the Rails” won the International Jury Prize.

On this date:

In 1519, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew set out from Spain on five ships to find a western passage to the Spice Islands. (Magellan was killed en route, but one of his ships eventually circled the world.)

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

In 1884, the National Equal Rights Party was formed during a convention of suffragists in San Francisco; the convention nominated Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood for president.

In 1911, the British liner RMS Olympic collided with the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Hawke off the Isle of Wight; although seriously damaged, the Olympic was able to return to Southampton under its own power.

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

In 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. was seriously wounded during a book signing at a New York City department store when he was stabbed in the chest by Izola Curry. (Curry was later found mentally incompetent; she died at a Queens, New York, nursing home in 2015 at age 98.)

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

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. Singer-songwriter Jim Croce, 30, died in a plane crash near Natchitoches, Louisiana.

In 1976, Playboy magazine released an interview in which Democratic presidential nominee Jimmy Carter admitted he’d “looked on a lot of women with lust.” The historical drama series “I, Claudius,” starring Derek Jacobi as the fourth emperor of Ancient Rome, began airing on BBC Television.

In 1984, a suicide car bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy annex in north Beirut, killing at least 14 people – two Americans and 12 Lebanese. The family sitcoms “The Cosby Show” and “Who’s the Boss?” premiered on NBC and ABC, respectively.

In 1999, Lawrence Russell Brewer became the second white supremacist to be convicted in the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas. (Brewer was executed on Sept. 21, 2011.) Raisa Gorbachev, wife of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, died at a German hospital after a battle with leukemia; she was 67.

In 2000, Independent Counsel Robert Ray announced the end of the Whitewater investigation, saying there was insufficient evidence to warrant charges against President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton. Former Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov died at age 65.

Ten years ago: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (OO’-goh CHAH’-vez) repeatedly referred to President George W. Bush as “the devil” during a speech to the United Nations. The African Union announced it would extend the mandate of a peacekeeping force in Darfur through the end of the year. Nationalist Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay) became head of Japan’s ruling party by a landslide. Oscar-winning cinematographer Sven Nykvist died in Stockholm, Sweden, at age 83.

Five years ago: Repeal of the U.S. military’s 18-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise took effect, allowing gay and lesbian service members to serve openly. A suicide bomber posing as a Taliban peace envoy assassinated former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani (boor-HAHN’-uh-deen ruh-BAH’-nee).

One year ago: Pope Francis met with Fidel Castro after urging tens of thousands of Cubans to serve one another and not an ideology during a Mass in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution. The CEO of Volkswagen apologized and VW customers said they felt duped after the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the German automaker had skirted clean air rules by rigging emissions tests for about 500,000 diesel cars. At the Emmys, the HBO series “Game of Thrones” won a record 12 awards; Viola Davis became the first black woman to win an Emmy for best drama series actress for “How to Get Away with Murder.” Poet C.K. Williams, 78, died in Hopewell, New Jersey. Actor Jack Larson, 87, TV’s Jimmy Olsen in “Adventures of Superman,” died in Los Angeles.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Sophia Loren is 82. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Taylor is 81. Rock musician Chuck Panozzo is 68. Actor Tony Denison is 67. Hockey Hall of Famer Guy LaFleur is 65. Actress Debbi Morgan is 65. Jazz musician Peter White is 62. Actress Betsy Brantley is 61. Actor Gary Cole is 60. TV news correspondent Deborah Roberts is 56. Country-rock musician Joseph Shreve (Flynnville Train) is 55. Rock musician Randy Bradbury (Pennywise) is 52. Actress Kristen Johnston is 49. Rock singers Matthew Nelson and Gunnar Nelson are 49. Rock musician Ben Shepherd is 48. Actress Enuka Okuma is 44. Actress-model Moon Bloodgood is 41. Actor Jon Bernthal is 40. Singer The Dream is 39. Actor Charlie Weber is 38. Rock musician Rick Woolstenhulme (WOOL’-sten-hyoolm) (Lifehouse) is 37. Actress Crystle Stewart is 35. Rapper Yung Joc is 34. Actor Aldis Hodge is 30. Actor Malachi (MAL’-ah-ky) Kirby (TV: “Roots”) is 27.

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