This day in history

Today is Wednesday, Aug. 21, the 233rd day of 2019. There are 132 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Former NFL player and general manager Pete Retzlaff is 88. Singer Kenny Rogers is 81. Actor Clarence Williams III is 80. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Lanier is 74. NBC newsman Harry Smith is 68. Singer Glenn Hughes is 67. Actress Kim Cattrall is 63. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL quarterback Jim McMahon is 60. Actress Cleo King is 57. Retired MLB All-Star John Wetteland is 53. Rock singer Serj Tankian (System of a Down) is 52.Actress Carrie-Anne Moss is 49. MLB player-turned-manager Craig Counsell is 49. TV personality Brody Jenner is 36. Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt is 33. Actor-comedian Brooks Wheelan is 33. Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez is 32. Country singer Kacey Musgraves is 31. Actress Hayden Panettiere is 30.


In 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his new telescope to a group of officials atop the Campanile in Venice.

In 1831, Nat Turner launched a violent slave rebellion in Virginia resulting in the deaths of at least 55 whites. (Turner was later executed.)

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 1963, martial law was declared in South Vietnam as police and army troops began a violent crackdown on Buddhist anti-government protesters.

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 1992, an 11-day siege began at the cabin of white separatist Randy Weaver in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, as government agents tried to arrest Weaver for failing to appear in court on charges of selling two illegal sawed-off shotguns; on the first day of the siege, Weaver’s teenage son, Samuel, and Deputy US Marshal William Degan were killed.


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 1995, ABC News settled a $10 billion libel suit by apologizing to Philip Morris for reporting the tobacco giant had manipulated the amount of nicotine in its cigarettes.

In 2009, a wildfire broke out north of Athens, Greece; the blaze charred 80 square miles before being extinguished. Leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to lift a ban that prohibited sexually active gays and lesbians from serving as ministers.

In 2014, calling it a ‘‘miraculous day,’’ an American doctor infected with Ebola left his isolation unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta; Dr. Kent Brantly warmly hugged his physicians and nurses, showing the world that he posed no public health threat one month after getting sick with the virus. Governor Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin withdrawing from Ferguson, where nightly scenes of unrest had erupted since a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old nearly two weeks earlier.

Last year, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other charges; Cohen said Trump directed him to arrange the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to fend off damage to his White House bid. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight financial crimes in the first trial victory of the special counsel investigation into Trump’s associates.