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Today in history: August 21

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

Today is Monday, Aug. 21, the 233rd day of 2006. There are 132 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 21, 1945, President Truman ended the Lend-Lease program that had shipped some $50 billion in aid to America’s allies during World War II.

On this date:

In 1831, former slave Nat Turner led a violent insurrection in Virginia. (He was later executed.)

In 1858, the famous debates between senatorial contenders Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas began.

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

In 1911, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was stolen from the Louvre Museum. (The painting turned up two years later, in Italy.)

In 1940, exiled Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky died in Mexico City from wounds inflicted by an assassin.

In 1944, the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union and China opened talks at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington that helped pave the way for establishment of the United Nations.

In 1959, President Eisenhower signed an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the union, five months after he’d signed the Hawaiian statehood bill.

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: President Clinton signed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, aimed at making health insurance easier to obtain and keep.

Five 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 allegedly rigged the popular “Monopoly” and “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” games played by millions of the fast-food chain’s customers over the previous six years.

One year ago: Pope Benedict XVI triumphantly ended his four-day trip to his native Germany, celebrating an open-air Mass for a million people in Cologne. Robert A. Moog, whose self-named electronic synthesizers revolutionized music in the 1960s, died in Asheville, N.C., at age 71.

Today’s Birthdays: Israeli political leader Shimon Peres is 83. Actor-director Melvin Van Peebles is 74. Singer Kenny Rogers is 68. Actor Clarence Williams III is 67. Rock-and-roll musician James Burton is 67. Singer Harold Reid (The Statler Brothers) is 67. Singer Jackie DeShannon is 62. Actress Patty McCormack is 61. Actress Loretta Devine is 57. TV anchorman Harry Smith is 55. Singer Glenn Hughes is 54. Country musician Nick Kane is 52. Actress Kim Cattrall is 50. Rock singer Serj Tankian (System of a Down) is 39. Actress Carrie-Anne Moss is 36. Rock musician Liam Howlett (Prodigy) is 35. Actress Alicia Witt is 31. Singer Kelis is

27. Singer Melissa Schuman (Dream) is 22. Actor Cody Kasch (“Desperate Housewives”) is 19. Actress Hayden Panettiere is 17.

Thought for Today: “Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man.” — Leon Trotsky (1879-1940).