Wednesday, Aug. 21, is the 233d day of 2013. There are 132 days left in the year.
Today’s birthdays: Actor-director Melvin Van Peebles is 81. Singer Kenny Rogers is 75. Actor Clarence Williams III is 74. Singer Jackie DeShannon is 72. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Lanier is 68. Actress Loretta Devine is 64. NBC newsman Harry Smith is 62. Actress Kim Cattrall is 57. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL quarterback Jim McMahon is 54. Former MLB All-Star pitcher John Wetteland is 47. Rock singer Serj Tankian (System of a Down) is 46. Actress Carrie-Anne Moss is 43. Actress Alicia Witt is 38. Singer Kelis is 34. TV personality Brody Jenner is 30. Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt is 27. Country singer Kacey Musgraves is 25. Actress Hayden Panettiere is 24.
In 1831, Nat Turner led a violent slave rebellion in Virginia resulting in the deaths of at least 55 white people. He was later executed.
In 1858, the first of seven debates between Illinois senatorial contenders Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took place.
In 1863, pro-Confederate raiders attacked Lawrence, Kan., massacring the men and destroying the town’s buildings.
In 1911, Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘‘Mona Lisa’’ was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris. The painting was recovered two years later in Italy.
In 1912, the Boy Scouts of America named its first Eagle Scout, Arthur Rose Eldred of Troop 1 in Rockville Centre, N.Y.
In 1940, exiled Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky died in a Mexican hospital from wounds inflicted by an assassin the day before.
In 1959, President Eisenhower signed an executive order making Hawaii the 50th state.
In 1963, martial law was declared in South Vietnam as police and troops began a crackdown on Buddhist anti-government protesters.
In 1972, the Republican National Convention opened in Miami Beach.
In 1983, Philippine opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino Jr., ending a self-imposed exile in the United States, was shot dead after stepping off a plane at Manila International Airport.
In 1991, the hard-line coup against Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev collapsed in the face of a popular uprising led by Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin.
In 1993, in a serious setback for NASA, engineers lost contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft as it was about to reach the red planet on a $980 million mission.
In 2003, Alabama’s top judge, Chief Justice Roy Moore, refused to back down in his fight to keep a Ten Commandments monument and lashed out at his colleagues who’d ordered it removed from the rotunda of the state judicial building. Palestinian militants abandoned a 2-month-old truce after Israel killed a Hamas leader in a missile attack.
In 2008, President George W. Bush issued a federal disaster declaration for parts of Florida affected by Tropical Storm Fay. Twin Taliban suicide bombings at Pakistan’s largest weapons complex killed at least 67 people.