Today is Thursday, August 21, the 233th day of 2014. There are 132 days left in the year.
On August 21, 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. (The talks concluded on October 7.)
On this date:
In 1614, Transylvanian Countess Elizabeth Bathory, believed complicit in the killings of dozens, possibly hundreds, of young women and girls, was found dead at age 54 nearly four years after being sealed off in her castle chambers.
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 1911, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris. (The painting was recovered two years later in Italy.)
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 1963, martial law was declared in South Vietnam as police and army troops began a violent crackdown on Buddhist anti-government protesters.
In 1972, the Republican National Convention opened in Miami Beach.
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. The musical play “La Cage Aux Folles” opened on Broadway.
In 1984, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro appeared before reporters in Queens, New York, to field questions about her family’s finances.
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.
In 1993, in a serious setback for NASA, engineers lost contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft as it was about to reach the red planet on a $980 million mission.
Ten years ago: The International Gymnastics Federation ruled that South Korean Yang Tae-young had been unfairly docked a tenth of a point in the all-around gymnastics final at the Athens Olympics, costing him the gold medal that ended up going to Paul Hamm of the United States; however, the ruling did not change the final result in which Yang received the bronze.
Five years ago: A wildfire broke out north of Athens, Greece; in the days that followed, the blaze spread, charring 80 square miles before being extinguished. A high-level delegation of North Korean officials paid their respects to late former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung. Leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to lift a ban that prohibited sexually active gays and lesbians from serving as ministers.
One year ago: Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was sentenced at Fort Meade, Maryland, to up to 35 years in prison for spilling an unprecedented trove of government secrets. The National Security Agency declassified three secret court opinions showing how in one of its surveillance programs, it scooped up as many as 56,000 emails and other communications by Americans not connected to terrorism annually over three years. Former space shuttle astronaut C. Gordon Fullerton, 76, died in Lancaster. Music promoter Sid Bernstein, 95, who booked such top acts as Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland and the Rolling Stones and brought The Beatles to Carnegie Hall in 1964, died in New York.
Today’s birthdays: Former football player Pete Retzlaff is 83. Actor-director Melvin Van Peebles is 82. Playwright Mart Crowley is 79. Singer Kenny Rogers is 76. Actor Clarence Williams III is 75. Rock-and-roll musician James Burton is 75. Singer Harold Reid (The Statler Brothers) is 75. Singer Jackie DeShannon is 73. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Lanier is 69. Actress Patty McCormack is 69. Pop singer-musician Carl Giammarese is 67. Actress Loretta Devine is 65. NBC newsman Harry Smith is 63. Singer Glenn Hughes is 62. Country musician Nick Kane is 60. Actress Kim Cattrall is 58. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL quarterback Jim McMahon is 55. Actress Cleo King is 52. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher John Wetteland is 48. Rock singer Serj Tankian (System of a Down) is 47. Figure skater Josee Chouinard is 45. Actress Carrie-Anne Moss is 44. Retired MLB player Craig Counsell is 44. Rock musician Liam Howlett (Prodigy) is 43. Actress Alicia Witt is 39. Singer Kelis is 35. TV personality Brody Jenner is 31. Singer Melissa Schuman is 30. Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt is 28. Actor-comedian Brooks Wheelan (“Saturday Night Live”) is 28. Actor Cody Kasch is 27. Country singer Kacey Musgraves is 26. Actress Hayden Panettiere is 25. Actor RJ Mitte is 22.
Thought for today: “Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man.” — Leon Trotsky (1879-1940).