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Today in sports history

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Aug. 15 2011 10:31 a.m. MDT

Today is Sunday, Aug. 21, the 233rd day of 2011. There are 132 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Aug. 21, 1911, Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris. (The thief turned out to be museum employee Vincenzo Peruggia, who took the painting to Italy, where it was found two years later.)

On this date:

In 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his new telescope to a group of officials atop the Campanile (kam-pah-NEE'-lee) in Venice.

In 1831, Nat Turner led a violent slave rebellion in Virginia resulting in the deaths of at least 55 white people. (He was later executed.)

In 1858, the first of seven debates between Illinois senatorial contenders Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took place.

In 1878, the American Bar Association was founded in Saratoga, N.Y.

In 1940, exiled Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky died in a Mexican hospital from wounds inflicted by an assassin the day before.

In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order making Hawaii the 50th state.

In 1961, country singer Patsy Cline recorded the Willie Nelson song "Crazy" in Nashville for Decca Records. (The recording was released in Oct. 1961.)

In 1983, Philippine opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino Jr., ending a self-imposed exile in the United States, was shot dead moments after stepping off a plane at Manila International Airport.

In 1986, more than 1,700 people died when toxic gas erupted from a volcanic lake in the West African nation of Cameroon.

In 1991, the hard-line coup against Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev collapsed in the face of a popular uprising led by Russian federation President Boris N. Yeltsin.

Ten years ago: Robert Tools, the first person to receive a self-contained artificial heart, was introduced to the public at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky., through a video link from his doctor's office. Federal authorities working with McDonald's announced they'd broken up a criminal ring that had rigged the fast-food chain's popular "Monopoly" and "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" games.

Five years ago: A defiant Saddam Hussein refused to enter a plea on genocide charges and dismissed the court as illegitimate as his second trial began. British prosecutors announced that 11 people had been charged in an alleged plot to blow up trans-Atlantic jetliners bound for the U.S. (Nine British Muslims were later convicted in connection with the plot.) A train crash on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, killed at least 58 people. A bomb blast tore through a Moscow market, killing at least 14 people.

One year ago: Iranian and Russian engineers began loading fuel into Iran's first nuclear power plant, which Moscow promised to safeguard to prevent material at the site from being used in any potential weapons production. A Vincent van Gogh painting, "Poppy Flowers," was stolen in broad daylight from Cairo's Mahmoud Khalil Museum. (Although Egyptian authorities initially said they'd recovered the painting the same day at the Cairo airport, that report turned out to be erroneous.) Emmy-winning CBS News correspondent Harold Dow died at age 62.

Today's Birthdays: Former football player Pete Retzlaff is 80. Actor-director Melvin Van Peebles is 79. Playwright Mart Crowley ("The Boys in the Band") is 76. Singer Kenny Rogers is 73. Actor Clarence Williams III is 72. Rock-and-roll musician James Burton is 72. Singer Harold Reid (The Statler Brothers) is 72. Singer Jackie DeShannon is 70. Football Hall of Famer Willie Lanier is 66. Actress Patty McCormack is 66. Pop singer-musician Carl Giammarese (jee-ah mah-REE'-see) is 64. Actress Loretta Devine is 62. NBC newsman Harry Smith is 60. Singer Glenn Hughes is 59. Country musician Nick Kane is 57. Actress Kim Cattrall is 55. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL quarterback Jim McMahon is 52. Actress Cleo King is 49. MLB All-Star pitcher John Wetteland is 45. Rock singer Serj Tankian (TAN'-kee-ahn) (System of a Down) is 44. Actress Carrie-Anne Moss is 41. MLB player Craig Counsell is 41. Rock musician Liam Howlett (Prodigy) is 40. Actress Alicia Witt is 36. Singer Kelis (kuh-LEES') is 32. TV personality Brody Jenner is 28. Singer Melissa Schuman is 27. Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain (yoo-SAYN') Bolt is 25. Actor Cody Kasch is 24. Actress Hayden Panettiere (pan'-uh-tee-EHR') is 22. Actor RJ Mitte (TV: "Breaking Bad") is 19.

Thought for Today: "I don't measure America by its achievement but by its potential." — Shirley Chisholm, American lawmaker and educator (1924-2005).

(Above Advance for Use Sunday, Aug. 21)

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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