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Today in history: August 23

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

Today is Wednesday, Aug. 23, the 235th day of 2006. There are 130 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Aug. 23, 1927, Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in Boston for the murders of two men during a 1920 robbery. (Sacco and Vanzetti were vindicated in 1977 by Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis.)

On this date:
In 1754, France’s King Louis XVI was born at Versailles.

In 1775, Britain’s King George III proclaimed the American colonies in a state of “open and avowed rebellion.”

In 1914, Japan declared war against Germany in World War I.

In 1926, silent film star Rudolph Valentino died in New York at age 31.

In 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression treaty in Moscow.

In 1944, Romanian prime minister Ion Antonescu was dismissed by King Michael, paving the way for Romania to abandon the Axis in favor of the Allies.

In 1960, Broadway librettist Oscar Hammerstein II died in Doylestown, Pa.

In 1972, the Republican national convention, meeting in Miami Beach, Fla., nominated Vice President Spiro T. Agnew for a second term.

In 1982, Lebanon’s parliament elected Christian militia leader Bashir Gemayel president. (However, Gemayel was assassinated some three weeks later.)

In 1986, Gennadiy Zakharov, a physicist assigned to the United Nations, was arrested by the FBI and charged with espionage. (Zakharov’s arrest was followed a week later by the arrest of American journalist Nicholas Daniloff in the Soviet Union.)

Ten years ago: President Clinton imposed limits on peddling cigarettes to children as he unveiled Food and Drug Administration regulations declaring nicotine an addictive drug. The same day, a jury in Indianapolis found cigarette companies were not responsible for the lung cancer death of a 52-year-old lawyer who began smoking at age five.

Five years ago: California Congressman Gary Condit, interviewed by Connie Chung on ABC, denied any involvement in the disappearance of Chandra Levy. Thierry Devaux, a Frenchman using a motor-driven parachute, was arrested after becoming snagged on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. NATO soldiers streamed into Macedonia as part of a mission to help end six months of ethnic hostilities by collecting and destroying rebel weapons.

One year ago: President Bush said he understood the anguish of war protester Cindy Sheehan, but said fulfilling demands like hers for withdrawal from Iraq would weaken the United States. Israeli forces evicted militant holdouts from two Jewish settlements, completing a historic withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank. A Peruvian airliner crash-landed in the Amazon jungle, killing 40 people. Actor Brock Peters died in Los Angeles at age 78.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Robert Mulligan is 81. Actress Vera Miles is 76. Political satirist Mark Russell is 74. Actress Barbara Eden is 72. Actor Richard Sanders is 66. Ballet dancer Patricia McBride is 64. Former Surgeon General Antonia Novello is 62. Country singer Rex Allen Jr. is 59. Singer Linda Thompson is 59. Actress Shelley Long is 57. Actor-singer Rick Springfield is 57. Country singer-musician Woody Paul (Riders in the Sky) is 57. Queen Noor of Jordan is 55. Actor-producer Mark Hudson is 55. Rock musician Dean DeLeo (Army of Anyone and Stone Temple Pilots) is 45. Country musician Ira Dean (Trick Pony) is 37. Actor Jay Mohr is 36. Country singer Shelly Fairchild is 29. Rock singer Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) is 28.

Thought for Today: “Man alone can enslave man.” — Simone Weil, French philosopher (1909-1943).