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Today in History - Friday Edition

Today is Friday, August 21, the 233rd day of 2015. There are 132 days left in the year.

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    Hayden Panettiere, who starred in the NBC series 'Heroes,' turns 26 today.

    On this date: 

    In 1673, Britain's Prince Rupert is defeated off Texel, ending British efforts to land troops in Holland and freeing Dutch coast from blockade.

    In 1680, Pueblo Indians drive out the Spanish and take possession of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    In 1791, Slaves rise, beginning the Haitian Revolution.

    In 1808, British forces defeat French at Vimiero, Portugal.

    In 1831, Former slave Nat Turner leads a violent insurrection in Virginia, United States, and is later executed.

    In 1862, British sailor Billy Barker strikes gold in western Canada's Cariboo mountains, digging up $600,000-worth. His wife squanders the fortune and Barker dies penniless.

    In 1886, Pro-Russian officers in Sofia, Bulgaria, kidnap the ruler, Prince Alexander, and hand him over to the Russians.

    In 1917, German forces attack Russians on the Latvian front in World War I.

    In 1939, The Soviet Union and Germany sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, a 10-year nonaggression treaty, with a secret addendum, to partition Poland. This treaty proved to be the fuse that ignited World War II.

    In 1945, U.S. President Harry S. Truman ends the Lend-Lease Program that gave US$50 billion in aid to the Allies in World War II.

    In 1951, Construction of the first nuclear submarine is ordered. The same power used in the atomic bombs during World War II would be harnessed as an alternate energy source.

    In 1959, Hawaii becomes 50th state of United States.

    In 1963, Buddhists are arrested and martial law is imposed in South Vietnam.

    In 1968, Soviet forces occupying Czechoslovakia seize liberal Communist leader Alexander Dubcek.

    In 1975, United States lifts 12-year ban on exports to Cuba by foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies, but embargo on direct trade between Cuba and United States remains in effect.

    In 1980, The United States and Somalia sign an agreement giving U.S. naval and air forces access to military facilities in the East African country in return for American military aid.

    In 1983, Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino is assassinated as he steps from a plane in Manila after three years of self-imposed exile in United States.

    In 1986, More than 17,000 people die when toxic gas erupts from a volcanic lake in Cameroon.

    In 1990, 100,000 people gather in Prague's Wenceslas Square for first free commemoration of 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

    In 1993, Bosnian Croats give in to U.N. demands and promise to allow aid to reach tens of thousands of Muslims trapped in Mostar, as heavy fighting rages in the city.

    In 2000,  Efforts to reach the sunken Russian nuclear submarine Kursk end when divers say none of the 118 sailors on aboard survived the catastrophic explosion on the Barents Sea.

    In 2009, The only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing returns home to Libya to a cheering crowd after his release from a Scottish prison — an outrage to many relatives of the 270 people who perished when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded.

    Today's Birthdays: Country singer Kenny Rogers is 77. Actor and director Melvin Van Peebles is 83. Former NFL QB Jim McMahon is 56. Actor RJ Mitte is 23. Actress Hayden Panettiere is 26.

    Thought for Today: Happiness, it seems to me, consists of two things: first, in being where you belong, and second — and best — in comfortably going through everyday life, that is, having had a good night's sleep and not being hurt by new shoes — Theodor Fontane, German author (1819-1898).