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Famous Birthdays
 Encyclopaedia Britannica

*1924Yasir 'Arafat, believed to have been born this day in Cairo in 1924, became president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996. He was previously chairman (from 1969) of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and leader of Fatah, the largest of the constituent PLO groups. In 1993 he led the PLO in a peace agreement with the Israeli government. 'Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres of Israel were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1994. 
*1880Joshua Lionel Cowen was born. He was the inventor of the toy electric train.  
2005The planet Pluto was reclassified as a "dwarf planet" by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Pluto's status was changed due to the IAU's new rules for an object qualifying as a planet. Pluto met two of the three rules because it orbits the sun and is large enough to assume a nearly round shape. However, since Pluto has an oblong orbit and overlaps the orbit of Neptune it disqualified Pluto as a planet. 
2004Salim Ahmed Hamdan was formally charged in the first U.S. military tribunal since World War II. Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's former chauffer, was charged with conspiracy as an al-Qaida member to commit war crimes, including murder.  
2001In McAllen, TX, Bridgestone/Firestone agreed to settle out of court and pay a reported $7.5 million to a family in a rollover accident in their Ford Explorer.  
2001NASA announced that operation of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite would end by September 30th due to budget restrictions. Though the satellite is best known for monitoring a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, it was designed to provide information about the upper atmosphere by measuring its winds, temperatures, chemistry and energy received from the sun.  
2001The remains of nine American servicemen killed in the Korean War were returned to the U.S. The bodies were found about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. It was estimated that it would be a year before the identies of the soldiers would be known.  
2001U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly was randomly picked to take over the Microsoft monopoly case. The judge was to decide how Microsoft should be punished for illegally trying to squelch its competitors.  
1998A donation of 24 beads was made, from three parties, to the Indian Museum of North America at the Crazy Horse Memorial. The beads are said to be those that were used in 1626 to buy Manhattan from the Indians.  
1998The U.S. and Britain agreed on the Netherlands as site for the trial of two Libyan suspects for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.  
1998U.S. officials cited a soil sample as part of the evidence that a Sudan plant was producing precursors to the VX nerve gas. And, therefore made it a target for U.S. missiles on August 20, 1998.  
1995Harry Wu, human rights activist, was expelled by China after he was convicted of spying.  
1995Microsoft's "Windows 95" went on sale.  
1992China and South Korea established diplomatic relations.  
1992Hurricane Andrew hit southern Florida causing 55 deaths in the Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana.  
1991Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the head of the Communist Party.  
1990Iraqi troops surrounded foreign missions in Kuwait.  
1990Irish hostage Brian Keenan was released. He had been held in Lebanon for 1,597 days.  
1989"Total war" was declared by Columbian drug lords on their government.  
1989Pete Rose, the manager of the Cincinnati Reds, was banned from baseball for life after being accused of gambling on baseball.  
1989The U.S. space probe, Voyager 2, sent back photographs of Neptune.  
1987Sergeant Clayton Lonetree was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a military jury for giving U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union.  
1986Frontier Airlines shut down. Thousands of people were left stranded.  
198527 anti-apartheid leaders were arrested in South Africa as racial violence rocked the country.  
1981Mark David Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the murder of John Lennon.  
1975Davey Lopes of the Los Angeles Dodgers set a major league baseball record when he stole his 38th consecutive base.  
1970A bomb went off at the University of Wisconsin's Army Math Research Center in Madison, WI. The bomb that killed Robert Fassnacht was set by anti-war extremists.  
1968France became the 5th thermonuclear power when they exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.  
1963John Pennel pole-vaulted 17 feet and 3/4 inches becoming the first to break the 17-foot barrier.  
1959Three days after Hawaiian statehood, Hiram L. Fong was sworn in as the first Chinese-American U.S. senator while Daniel K. Inouye was sworn in as the first Japanese-American U.S. representative.  
1954The Communist Party was virtually outlawed in the U.S. when the Communist Control Act went into effect.  
1949The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) went into effect. The agreement was that an attack against on one of the parties would be considered "an attack against them all."  
1939The leader of "Murder, Incorporated", Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, gave himself up to columnist Walter Winchell. Winchell then turned him over to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.  
1932Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the U.S. non-stop. The trip from Los Angeles, CA to Newark, NJ, took about 19 hours.  
1912A four-pound limit was set for parcels sent through the U.S. Post Office mail system.  
1891Thomas Edison applied patents for the kinetoscope and kinetograph (U.S. Pats. 493,426 and 589,168).  
1869A patent for the waffle iron was received by Cornelius Swarthout.  
1867Johns Hopkins died. The railroad millionaire left $7.5 million in his will for the founding of a new medical school in his name.  
1853The first convention of the American Pharmaceutical Association was held.  
1821The Treaty of Córdoba was signed, giving Mexico its independence from Spain. 
1814Washington, DC, was invaded by British forces that set fire to the White House and Capitol.  
1803Irish revolutionary James Napper Tandy died in France. 
1680Colonel Thomas Blood died. He was the Irish adventurer that had stolen the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London in 1671.  
1572The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day, plotted by Catherine de Médicis against the French Huguenots, was carried out by Roman Catholic nobles and other citizens; thousands died in the bloodshed. 
1456The printing of the Gutenberg Bible was completed.  
410 Alaric, chief of the Visigoths, led an army into Rome, an event that symbolizes the fall of the Western Roman Empire.  
79Eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Mount Vesuvius erupted on this day, destroying the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. (At the time, the cities had not quite recovered from an earthquake 17 years earlier.) Just after midday, fragments of ash, pumice, and other volcanic debris began pouring down on Pompeii, quickly covering the city to a depth of more than 3 metres (9 feet) and causing the roofs of many houses to fall in. Surges of pyroclastic material and heated gas, known as nuées ardentes, reached the city walls on the morning of August 25 and soon asphyxiated those residents who had not been killed by falling debris. Additional pyroclastic flows and rains of ash followed, adding at least another 3 metres of debris and preserving in a pall of ash the bodies of the inhabitants who perished while taking shelter in their houses or while trying to escape toward the coast or by the roads leading to Stabiae or Nuceria. 
Asterisks (*) denotes birthday

Famous Birthdays
1988 - Rupert Grint
1981 - Chad Michael Murray
1973 - Dave Chappelle
1965 - Marlee Matlin
1962 - Craig Kilborn
1960 - Cal Ripken, Jr.
1958 - Steve Guttenberg
1945 - Vince McMahon
1929 - Yasser Arafat
1912 - Durward Kirby
1890 - Duke Kahanamoku

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