Today is Friday, Aug. 24, the 237th day of 2012. There are 129 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Aug. 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida, causing $30 billion in damage; 43 U.S. deaths were blamed on the storm.
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 1572, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of French Protestants at the hands of Catholics began in Paris.
In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington, D.C., setting fire to the Capitol and the White House, as well as other buildings.
In 1821, the Treaty of Cordoba was signed, granting independence to Mexico from Spanish rule.
In 1912, Congress passed a measure creating the Alaska Territory. Congress approved legislation establishing Parcel Post delivery by the U.S. Post Office Department, slated to begin on Jan. 1, 1913.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J., 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 1968, France became the world's fifth thermonuclear power as it exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.
In 1970, an explosives-laden van left by anti-war extremists blew up outside the University of Wisconsin's Sterling Hall in Madison, killing 33-year-old researcher Robert Fassnacht.
In 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto was no longer a planet, demoting it to the status of a "dwarf planet."
Ten years ago: The FBI uncovered human remains in an outbuilding behind the Oregon City, Ore., house of Ward Weaver III, a suspect in the case of 2 missing girls who lived across the street. (Authorities recovered the remains of 12-year-old Ashley Pond and 13-year-old Miranda Gaddis; Weaver later pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and was sentenced to 2 consecutive life terms in prison.)
Five years ago: A judge in Inverness, Fla., sentenced John Evander Couey to death for kidnapping 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, raping her and burying her alive. (Couey died in 2009.) James Ford Seale, a reputed Ku Klux Klansman, was sentenced to three life terms for his role in the 1964 abduction and murder of two black teenagers in southwestern Mississippi. (Seale died in 2011.) Major wildfires broke out in Greece, burning half a million acres and claiming 65 lives in 11 days.
One year ago: A defiant Moammar Gadhafi vowed in a broadcast to fight on "until victory or martyrdom" and called on residents of the Libyan capital and loyal tribesmen across his North African nation to free Tripoli from the "devils and traitors" who had overrun it. Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple Inc.; he was succeeded by Tim Cook. Mike Flanagan, a Cy Young winner and part of the Baltimore Orioles' 1983 World Series championship team, was found dead outside his home in Monkton, Md.; he was 59.
Today's Birthdays: Former Education Secretary Shirley Hufstedler is 87. Actor Kenny Baker ("Star Wars") is 78. Composer-musician Mason Williams is 74. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marshall Thompson (The Chi-Lites) is 70. Rock musician Ken Hensley is 67. Actress Anne Archer is 65. Actor Joe Regalbuto is 63. Actor Kevin Dunn is 57. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is 57. Actor-writer Stephen Fry is 55. Actor Steve Guttenberg is 54. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is 52. Actor Jared Harris is 51. Talk show host Craig Kilborn is 50. Rock singer John Bush is 49. Actress Marlee Matlin is 47. Retired NBA All-Star Reggie Miller is 47. Broadcast journalist David Gregory ("Meet the Press") is 42. Country singer Kristyn Osborn (SheDaisy) is 42. Actor-comedian Dave Chappelle is 39. Actor Carmine Giovinazzo is 39. Actress Beth Riesgraf is 34. Actor Chad Michael Murray is 31. Christian rock musician Jeffrey Gilbert (Kutless) is 29. Singer Mika is 29. Actor Rupert Grint ("Harry Potter" films) is 24.
Thought for Today: "Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I'll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things." -- Lawrence D. Bell, American aircraft manufacturer (1894-1956).
Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.