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Wednesday, August 20, 1997

  • Today's Events
  • On Horizon
  • On This Day
  • Newslink
  • Holidays & more
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  • "The ValuJet accident resulted from failures all up and down the line -- from federal regulators to airline executives in the boardroom to workers on the shop room floor."

    -- National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall

    Today's events

  • Morocco's King Hassan addresses the nation ahead of legislative elections scheduled for October.

  • The first female students at Virginia Military Institute are scheduled to begin the "ratline," a six-month initiation with strict mental and physical discipline.

  • The Miss Teen USA pageant is scheduled to take place in South Padre Island, Texas.

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    On the horizon

  • On Thursday, August 21, the International Stamp Show opens in Beijing, China.

  • On Friday, August 22, the foreign ministers of the Rio Group meet in Asuncion, Paraguay.

  • On Saturday, August 23, the Rio Group summit is scheduled to take place in Asuncion.

  • On Sunday, August 24, the 10th World Conference on Tobacco on Health is scheduled to take place in Beijing.

  • On Monday, August 25, NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer is set for a late-morning launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket.

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    On this day

  • In 636, a Byzantine attempt to drive Muslims out of Syria was thwarted at the battle of Yarmuk.

  • In 1741, Alaska was discovered by Danish explorer Vitus Bering.

  • In 1914, the German army captured Brussels as the Belgian army retreated to Antwerp.

  • In 1940, Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary, was fatally wounded by a Spanish communist with an ice ax in Mexico City, dying the next day. The Soviet government denied responsibility.

  • In 1940, as the Battle of Britain raged, Prime Minister Winston Churchill told parliament, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

  • In 1944, U.S. and British forces destroyed the German Seventh Army at Falaise-Argentan Gap, west of Paris, capturing 50,000 Germans.

  • In 1946, the Allied Control Commission ordered the disbandment of the German armed forces, the Wehrmacht.

  • In 1949, a new assembly in Hungary adopted a Soviet-style constitution and renamed the country the Hungarian People's Republic.

  • In 1953, French forces forced the Sultan of Morocco, Sidi Mohammed ben Youssef, off his throne.

  • In 1960, Senegal decided to withdraw from the Mali Federation which it had formed with French Soudan (now Mali) in 1959.

  • In 1961, East Germany began to erect a 5-foot-high wall along the border with the west to replace the barbed wire put up on August 13.

  • In 1968, Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops crossed the border into Czechoslovakia just before midnight at the start of the invasion to crush the "Prague Spring" reforms.

  • In 1974, U.S. President Gerald Ford, assuming office after Richard Nixon's resignation, nominated Nelson Rockefeller as his vice-president.

  • In 1975, the U.S. Viking I spacecraft was launched on its way to Mars. It deployed a landing craft which touched down on the planet in July 1976.

  • In 1977, the U.S. Voyager II spacecraft was launched on its mission to explore the outer planets. It passed close to Jupiter (July 1979), Saturn (August 1981), Uranus (January 1986), Neptune (August 1989) before leaving the solar system.

  • In 1978, Palestinian guerrillas attacked an El Al airline bus in London, killing two people.

  • In 1980, the first successful ascent of Mount Everest by a solo climber was achieved by Italian Reinhold Messner.

  • In 1989, the pleasure cruiser Marchioness was rammed by the dredger Bowbelle on the River Thames, London, killing 51 people.

  • In 1990, Iraq confirmed that Western hostages held after the outbreak of the Gulf War were being moved to military and other vital installations as a human shield to deter attacks.

  • In 1991, the parliament in the Baltic republic of Estonia declared immediate full independence from the Soviet Union.

  • In 1995, at least 350 people were killed in India's worst train disaster when two Delhi-bound trains collided at Firozobad, 125 miles from the Indian capital.

  • In 1995, Liberia's main warring factions signed a peace accord calling for a cease-fire to end more than five years of civil war and the start of democratic rule in one year.

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    Can't watch the Miss Teen USA pageant tonight in South Padre Island, Texas? Check out all the information online by clicking here.


    Holidays and more

  • Today is St. Stephen's Day in Hungary.

  • It's Revolution of the King and the People Day Hungary in Morocco.

  • Actress Joan Allen is 41.

  • Journalist Connie Chung is 51.

  • Musician Isaac Hayes is 55.

  • Actor Michael Jeter is 45.

  • Boxing promoter Don King is 66.

  • Singer Robert Plant is 49.

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    Sources: Associated Press,
    Chase's Calendar of Events 1997, J.P. Morgan

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