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Today in History - Wednesday Edition

Today is Wednesday, August 12, the 224th day of 2015. There are 141 days left in the year.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    In 1939, the movie musical "The Wizard of Oz," starring Judy Garland, had its world premiere.

    Today's Highlight in History:

    On August 12, 1985, the world's worst single-aircraft disaster occurred as a crippled Japan Airlines Boeing 747 on a domestic flight crashed into a mountain, killing 520 people. (Four people survived.)

    On this date:

     

    In 1867, President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him as he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

     

    In 1898, fighting in the Spanish-American War came to an end.

    In 1902, International Harvester Co. was formed by a merger of McCormick Harvesting Machine Co., Deering Harvester Co. and several other manufacturers.

    In 1915, the novel "Of Human Bondage," by William Somerset Maugham, was first published in the United States, a day before it was released in England.

    In 1939, the MGM movie musical "The Wizard of Oz," starring Judy Garland, had its world premiere at the Strand Theater in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, three days before opening in Hollywood.

    In 1944, during World War II, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blew up over England.

    In 1953, the Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.

    In 1960, the first balloon communications satellite — the Echo 1 — was launched by the United States from Cape Canaveral.

    In 1962, one day after launching Andrian Nikolayev into orbit, the Soviet Union also sent up cosmonaut Pavel Popovich; both men landed safely August 15.

    In 1978, Pope Paul VI, who had died August 6 at age 80, was buried in St. Peter's Basilica.

    In 1981, IBM introduced its first personal computer, the model 5150, at a press conference in New York.

    In 1994, Woodstock '94 opened in Saugerties, New York.

    Ten years ago: A NASA spacecraft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, began a seven-month voyage to the Red Planet. Sri Lanka's foreign minister (Lakshman Kadirgamar), an ethnic Tamil, was shot to death by snipers in Colombo.

    Five years ago: General Motors Co. chief Ed Whitacre announced he was stepping down as CEO on September 1, 2010, saying his mission was accomplished as the company reported its second straight quarterly profit. (Whitacre was succeeded as CEO by GM board member Daniel Akerson.)

    One year ago: Steve Ballmer officially became the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers; the sale closed after a California court confirmed the authority of Shelly Sterling, on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, to sell the franchise. (Her husband, Donald Sterling, had unsuccessfully fought the sale of the team he owned since 1981 in court.) Lauren Bacall, 89, the slinky, sultry-voiced actress who created on-screen magic with Humphrey Bogart in "To Have and Have Not" and "The Big Sleep" and off-screen magic in one of Hollywood's most storied marriages, died in New York.

     

    Today's Birthdays: : Former Sen. Dale Bumpers, D-Ark., is 90. Actor George Hamilton is 76. Actress Dana Ivey is 74. Actress Jennifer Warren is 74. Rock singer-musician Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) is 66. Actor Jim Beaver is 65. Singer Kid Creole is 65. Jazz musician Pat Metheny is 61. Actor Sam J. Jones is 61. Actor Bruce Greenwood is 59. Country singer Danny Shirley is 59. Pop musician Roy Hay (Culture Club) is 54. Rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot is 52. Actor Peter Krause is 50. Actor Brent Sexton is 48. International Tennis Hall of Famer Pete Sampras is 44. Actor-comedian Michael Ian Black is 44. Actress Yvette Nicole Brown is 44. Actress Rebecca Gayheart is 44. Actor Casey Affleck is 40. Rock musician Bill Uechi (Save Ferris) is 40. Actress Maggie Lawson is 35. Actress Dominique Swain is 35. Actress Leah Pipes (TV: "The Originals") is 27. Actress Imani Hakim is 22.

    Thought for Today:  "The secret to life is meaningless unless you discover it yourself." — From "Of Human Bondage" by W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965).