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This day in history

Today is Saturday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2019. There are 122 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Japanese monster movie actor Katsumi Tezuka (“Godzilla”) is 107. Singer Van Morrison is 74. Actor Richard Gere is 70. Rock musician Gina Schock (The Go-Go’s) is 62. Rock musician Jeff Russo (Tonic) is 50. Actor Zack Ward is 49. Actress Sara Ramirez is 44.

In 1888, Mary Ann Nichols, believed to be the first victim of ‘‘Jack the Ripper,’’ was found slain in London’s East End.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act prohibiting the export of US arms to belligerents.


In 1939, the first issue of Marvel Comics, featuring the Human Torch, was published by Timely Publications in New York.

In 1969, boxer Rocky Marciano died in a light airplane crash in Iowa, a day before his 46th birthday.

In 1972, at the Munich Summer Olympics, American swimmer Mark Spitz won his fourth and fifth gold medals in the 100-meter butterfly and 800-meter freestyle relay; Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut won gold medals in floor exercise and the balance beam.

In 1980, Poland’s Solidarity labor movement was born with an agreement signed in Gdansk that ended a 17-day-old strike.

In 1986, 82 people were killed when an Aeromexico jetliner and a small private plane collided over Cerritos, California. The Soviet passenger ship Admiral Nakhimov collided with a merchant vessel in the Black Sea, causing both to sink; up to 448 people reportedly died.

In 1989, Britain’s Princess Anne and her husband, Captain Mark Phillips, announced they were separating after 15 years of marriage.

In 1992, white separatist Randy Weaver surrendered to authorities in Naples, Idaho, ending an 11-day siege by federal agents that had claimed the lives of Weaver’s wife, son and a deputy US marshal. (Weaver was acquitted of murder and all other charges in connection with the confrontation; he was convicted of failing to appear for trial on firearms charges and was sentenced to 18 months in prison but given credit for 14 months he’d already served.)


In 1994, the Irish Republican Army declared a cease-fire. Russia officially ended its military presence in the former East Germany and the Baltics after half a century.

In 1997, Prince Charles brought Princess Diana home for the last time, escorting the body of his former wife to a Britain that was shocked, grief-stricken and angered by her death in a Paris traffic accident earlier that day.

In 2009, extremely dangerous and strengthening Hurricane Jimena roared toward Mexico’s resort-studded Baja California Peninsula. Walt Disney Co. announced it was acquiring comic book giant Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion.

In 2014, on the Sunday talk shows, leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees prodded President Barack Obama to take decisive action against what they said were growing threats from Islamic State militants on US soil.

In 2017, rescuers began a block-by-block search of tens of thousands of Houston homes, looking for anyone who might have been left behind in the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey. The scope of the fake accounts scandal at Wells Fargo expanded, with the bank now saying 3.5 million accounts may have been opened without customers’ permission.

Last year, at a memorial in the US Capitol Rotunda, congressional leaders saluted the late Arizona Republican Senator John McCain as a model of service in war and peace and ‘‘one of the bravest souls our nation has ever produced.’’ Aretha Franklin, the ‘‘Queen of Soul,’’ was laid to rest after an eight-hour funeral at a Detroit church, where guests included Bill and Hillary Clinton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Smokey Robinson. Serena Williams scored her most lopsided victory ever against her sister Venus, winning a third-round match at the US Open, 6-1, 6-2. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she had ‘‘no intention of taking any action’’ regarding any possible use of federal money to arm teachers or provide them with firearms training.