By The Associated Press
Today in History
Today is Saturday, Aug. 24, the 236th day of 2019. There are 129 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington, D.C., setting fire to the Capitol (which was still under construction) and the White House, as well as other public buildings.
On this date:
In A.D. 79, long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash; an estimated 20,000 people died.
In 1857, the New York branch of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company failed, sparking the Panic of 1857.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, making her the first woman to fly solo, non-stop, from coast to coast.
In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty came into force.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.
In 1959, three days after Hawaiian statehood, Hiram L. Fong was sworn in as the first Chinese-American U.S. Senator while Daniel K. Inouye was sworn in as the first Japanese-American U.S. Representative.
In 1968, France became the world’s fifth thermonuclear power as it exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.
In 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon. (Chapman remains imprisoned.)
In 1989, the Voyager 2 space probe flew by Neptune, sending back striking photographs.
In 2003, the Justice Department reported the U.S. crime rate in 2002 was the lowest since studies began in 1973.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto was no longer a full-fledged planet, demoting it to the status of a “dwarf planet.”
In 2007, the NFL indefinitely suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick without pay after he acknowledged in court papers that he had, indeed, bankrolled gambling on dogfighting and helped kill some dogs not worthy of the pit.
Ten years ago: All sales under the government’s Cash for Clunkers program came to an end, although car dealers were given more time to submit pending claims for reimbursement. Scotland’s justice minister, Kenny MacAskill, defended his much-criticized decision to free Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, convicted of being the Lockerbie bomber, on compassionate grounds.
Five years ago: A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck Northern California, causing extensive damage in Napa and the surrounding area.