Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2017. There are 123 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On August 30, 1997, Americans received word of the car crash in Paris that claimed the lives of Princess Diana, her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul. (Because of the time difference, it was August 31 where the crash occurred.)

On this date:

In 1861, Union Gen. John C. Fremont instituted martial law in Missouri and declared slaves there to be free. (However, Fremont's emancipation order was countermanded by President Abraham Lincoln).

In 1862, Confederate forces won victories against the Union at the Second Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, Virginia, and the Battle of Richmond in Kentucky.

In 1905, Ty Cobb made his major-league debut as a player for the Detroit Tigers, hitting a double in his first at-bat in a game against the New York Highlanders. (The Tigers won, 5-3.)

In 1945, U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrived in Japan to set up Allied occupation headquarters.

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which was intended to promote private development of nuclear energy.

In 1963, the "Hot Line" communications link between Washington and Moscow went into operation.

In 1967, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Thurgood Marshall as the first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1983, Guion S. Bluford Jr. became the first black American astronaut to travel in space as he blasted off aboard the Challenger.

In 1984, the space shuttle Discovery was launched on its inaugural flight.

In 1986, Soviet authorities arrested Nicholas Daniloff, a correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, as a spy a week after American officials arrested Gennadiy Zakharov, a Soviet employee of the United Nations, on espionage charges in New York. (Both men were later released.)

In 1989, a federal jury in New York found "hotel queen" Leona Helmsley guilty of income tax evasion, but acquitted her of extortion. (Helmsley ended up serving 18 months behind bars, a month at a halfway house and two months under house arrest.)

In 1991, Azerbaijan (ah-zur-by-JAHN') declared its independence, joining the stampede of republics seeking to secede from the Soviet Union.

Ten years ago: In a serious breach of nuclear security, a B-52 bomber mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles took off from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and flew to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana; the Air Force later punished 70 people. Taliban militants in Afghanistan released the last seven of its South Korean hostages.

Five years ago: Mitt Romney launched his fall campaign for the White House with a rousing, personal speech to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, proclaiming that America needs "jobs, lots of jobs." Earlier in the evening, actor-director Clint Eastwood offered an endorsement of Romney that entailed using an empty chair to represent President Barack Obama. The U.S. Justice Department announced it had ended its investigation into CIA interrogations of terrorist detainees without bringing criminal charges. Twin satellites were launched by NASA on a quest to explore Earth's treacherous radiation belts and protect the planet from solar outbursts.

One year ago: Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy each easily won their Florida Senate primaries; Rubio won the election the following November. U.S. Sen. John McCain beat back an Arizona primary challenge from a Republican tea party activist, Kelli Ward, to win the right to seek a sixth Senate term in November (McCain went on to defeat Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick and Green Party candidate Gary Swing). The European Union ordered Apple to pay nearly $15 billion in back taxes to Ireland, plus billions more in interest (both Apple and Ireland are fighting the ruling).

Today's Birthdays: Actor Bill Daily is 90. Actress Elizabeth Ashley is 78. Actor Ben Jones is 76. Cartoonist R. Crumb is 74. Olympic gold medal skier Jean-Claude Killy is 74. Actress Peggy Lipton is 71. Comedian Lewis Black is 69. Actor Timothy Bottoms is 66. Actor David Paymer is 63. Jazz musician Gerald Albright is 60. Actor Michael Chiklis is 54. Music producer Robert Clivilles is 53. Actress Michael Michele is 51. Country musician Geoff Firebaugh is 49. Country singer Sherrie Austin is 46. Rock singer-musician Lars Frederiksen (Rancid) is 46. Actress Cameron Diaz is 45. Rock musician Leon Caffrey (Space) is 44. TV personality Lisa Ling is 44. Rock singer-musician Aaron Barrett (Reel Big Fish) is 43. Actor Raul Castillo is 40. Actor Michael Gladis is 40. Rock musician Matt Taul (Tantric; Days of the New) is 39. Tennis player Andy Roddick is 35. Singer Rachael Price (Lake Street Dive) is 32. Rock musician Ryan Ross is 31. Actress Johanna Braddy is 30. Actor Cameron Finley is 30.

Thought for Today: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." — Proverbs 1:10.