Today in History - Wednesday Edition | NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Today in History - Wednesday Edition

Today is Wednesday, Aug. 31, the 244th day of 2016. There are 122 days left in the year.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AFP/Getty Images
    American swimmer champion Mark Spitz in action during the Olympic 200m Butterfly final event 31 August 1972 in Munich, where he captured seven swimming gold medals (100m, 200m, 4x100m, 4x200m, 100m and 200m Butterfly and 4x100m medley). (B/W only) (Photo credit should read STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)

    Today's Highlight in History:

    On Aug. 31, 1886, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.3 devastated Charleston, South Carolina, killing at least 60 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

    On this date:

    In 1881, the first U.S. tennis championships (for men only) began in Newport, Rhode Island.

    In 1916, the musical revue "The Big Show," featuring the song "Poor Butterfly" by Raymond Hubbell and John Golden, opened at New York's Hippodrome.

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

    In 1941, the radio program "The Great Gildersleeve," a spinoff from "Fibber McGee and Molly" starring Harold Peary, debuted on NBC.

    In 1954, Hurricane Carol hit the northeastern Atlantic states; Connecticut, Rhode Island and part of Massachusetts bore the brunt of the storm, which resulted in some 70 deaths.

    In 1965, the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in voting to establish the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    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 1991, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan declared their independence, raising to ten the number of republics seeking to secede from the Soviet Union.

    In 1996, three adults and four children drowned when their vehicle rolled into John D. Long Lake in Union, South Carolina; they had gone to see a monument to the sons of Susan Smith, who had drowned the two boys in Oct. 1994.

    In 1997, a car crash in Paris claimed the lives of Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul.

    Ten years ago: Iran defied a U.N. deadline to stop enriching uranium. President George W. Bush, addressing an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City, predicted victory in the war on terror, likening the struggle against Islamic fundamentalism with the fight against Nazis and communists. Police in Norway recovered the Edvard Munch masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna" two years after masked gunmen grabbed the national art treasures in front of stunned visitors at an Oslo museum.

    Five years ago: The Wartime Contracting Commission issued a report saying the U.S. had lost billions of dollars to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan and stood to repeat that in future wars without big changes in how the government awarded and managed contracts for battlefield support and reconstruction projects. Betty Skelton Erde, 85, an aviation and auto racing pioneer once called the fastest woman on Earth, died in The Villages, Florida.

    One year ago: President Barack Obama, opening a three-day visit to Alaska, painted a doomsday scenario for the Arctic and beyond if climate change wasn't dealt with fast: entire nations submerged underwater, cities abandoned and refugees fleeing in droves as conflict broke out across the globe. The State Department released roughly 7,000 pages of Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails, including about 150 emails that were censored because they contained information deemed classified. Frazier Glenn Miller, a white supremacist who admitted killing three people at two suburban Kansas City Jewish sites, gave jurors in Olathe, Kansas, a Nazi salute after they convicted him of murder and other charges for the shootings. (The same jury sentenced Miller to death.)

    Today's Birthdays: Japanese monster movie actor Katsumi Tezuka is 104. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Frank Robinson is 81. Actor Warren Berlinger is 79. Rock musician Jerry Allison (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 77. Actor Jack Thompson is 76. Violinist Itzhak Perlman is 71. Singer Van Morrison is 71. Rock musician Rudolf Schenker (The Scorpions) is 68. Actor Richard Gere is 67. Olympic gold medal track and field athlete Edwin Moses is 61. Rock singer Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze) is 59. Rock musician Gina Schock (The Go-Go's) is 59. Singer Tony DeFranco (The DeFranco Family) is 57. Rhythm-and-blues musician Larry Waddell (Mint Condition) is 53. Actor Jaime P. Gomez is 51. Baseball pitcher Hideo Nomo is 48. Rock musician Jeff Russo (Tonic) is 47. Singer-composer Deborah Gibson is 46. Rock musician Greg Richling (Wallflowers) is 46. Actor Zack Ward is 46. Golfer Padraig Harrington is 45. Actor Chris Tucker is 44. Actress Sara Ramirez is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamara (Trina & Tamara) is 39.

    Thought for Today: "Every man in the world is better than someone else and not as good someone else." — William Saroyan, American author (1908-1981).