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Today in history: August 20

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 20, 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the “Prague Spring” liberalization drive of Alexander Dubcek’s regime.

On this date:

In 1833, Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States, was born in North Bend, Ohio.

In 1866, President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over, months after fighting had stopped.

In 1914, German forces occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War I.

In 1920, pioneering American radio station 8MK in Detroit (later WWJ) began daily broadcasting.

In 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force, saying, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

In 1953, the Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.

In 1955, hundreds of people were killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria.

In 1964, President Johnson signed a nearly $1 billion anti-poverty measure.

In 1977, the U.S. launched Voyager 2, an unmanned spacecraft carrying a 12-inch copper phonograph record containing greetings in dozens of languages, samples of music and sounds of nature.

In 1986, postal employee Patrick Henry Sherrill went on a deadly rampage at a post office in Edmond, Okla., shooting 14 fellow workers to death before killing himself.

Ten years ago: President Clinton approved the first minimum-wage increase in five years, raising the hourly minimum by 90 cents to $5.15 per hour over 13 months. Susan McDougal was sentenced in Little Rock, Ark., to two years in prison in a Whitewater fraud case. (She served three months of that sentence, but also 18 months for contempt for refusing to answer questions about President Clinton.)

Five years ago: Nikolay Soltys, a 27-year-old Ukrainian immigrant in Sacramento, Calif., fled after killing his wife and five other relatives. (Soltys was later captured, but ended up committing suicide in his jail cell.) Sir Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “Big Bang” but never accepted that theory for the origin of the universe, died in Bournemouth, England, at age 86. Actress Kim Stanley died in Santa Fe, N.M., at age 76.

One year ago: Northwest Airlines mechanics went on strike rather than accept pay cuts and layoffs; Northwest hired replacement workers. San Francisco offensive lineman Thomas Herrion, 23, collapsed in the locker room and died shortly after the 49ers had played the Denver Broncos in a preseason game. With a deafening boom, the ashes of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson were blown into the sky above Woody Creek, Colo.

Today’s Birthdays: Writer-producer-director Walter Bernstein is

87. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, D-Maine, is 73. Singer-musician Isaac Hayes is 64. Broadcast journalist Connie Chung is 60. Musician Jimmy Pankow (Chicago) is 59. Rock singer Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) is 58. Rock singer Doug Fieger (The Knack) is 54. Country singer Rudy Gatlin is 54. Singer-songwriter John Hiatt is 54. Actor-director Peter Horton is 53. TV weatherman Al Roker is 52. Actor Jay Acovone is 51. Actress Joan Allen is 50. TV personality Asha Blake is 45. Actor James Marsters is 44. Rapper KRS-One is 41. Rock singer Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) is 36. Rock musician Brad Avery (Third Day) is 35. Actor Jonathan Ke Quan is

35. Rock singer Monique Powell (Save Ferris) is 31.

Thought for Today: “If a thing is absolutely true, how can it not also be a lie? An absolute must contain its opposite.” — Charlotte Painter, American writer and educator.