Today is Tuesday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2011. There are 102 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Sept. 20, 1911, the British liner RMS Olympic collided with the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Hawke off the Isle of Wight; although seriously damaged, the Olympic was able to return to Southampton under its own power.
On this date:
In 1519, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew set out from Spain on five ships to find a western passage to the Spice Islands. (Magellan was killed enroute, but one of his ships eventually circled the world.)
In 1870, Italian troops took control of the Papal States, leading to the unification of Italy.
In 1873, panic swept the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in the wake of railroad bond defaults and bank failures.
In 1884, the National Equal Rights Party was formed during a convention of suffragists in San Francisco; the convention nominated Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood for president.
In 1947, former New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia died.
In 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. was seriously wounded during a book signing at a New York City department store when Izola Curry stabbed him in the chest. (Curry was later found mentally incompetent.)
In 1962, black student James Meredith was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Gov. Ross R. Barnett. (Meredith was later admitted.)
In 1973, in their so-called "battle of the sexes," tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome.
In 1979, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, self-styled head of the Central African Empire, was overthrown in a French-supported coup while on a visit to Libya.
In 1980, Spectacular Bid, ridden by Bill Shoemaker, ran as the only entry in the Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park in New York after three potential challengers dropped out in horse racing's first walkover since 1949.
Ten years ago: Addressing a joint session of Congress, President George W. Bush told a nation shaken by the 9/11 attacks, "Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated." Bush also announced a new Cabinet-level office to fortify homeland security and named Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge its director.
Five years ago: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez repeatedly referred to President George W. Bush as "the devil" during a speech to the United Nations. The African Union announced it would extend the mandate of a peacekeeping force in Darfur. Nationalist Shinzo Abe became head of Japan's ruling party by a landslide. Oscar-winning cinematographer Sven Nykvist died in Stockholm, Sweden, at age 83.
One year ago: The United Nations opened a three-day summit to assess members' progress in the decade since promising to end global poverty. President Barack Obama reached out to skeptical voters who were still hurting long after the declared end of the recession, imploring them to stick with him in upcoming midterm congressional elections.
Today's Birthdays: Singer Gogi Grant is 87. Actress-comedian Anne Meara is 82. Actress Sophia Loren is 77. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Taylor is 76. Rock musician Chuck Panozzo is 64. Hockey Hall of Famer Guy LaFleur is 60. Actress Debbi Morgan is 60. Jazz musician Peter White is 57. Actress Betsy Brantley is 56. Actor Gary Cole is 55. TV news correspondent Deborah Roberts is 51. Rock musician Randy Bradbury (Pennywise) is 47. Actress Kristen Johnston is 44. Rock singers Matthew Nelson and Gunnar Nelson are 44. Rock musician Ben Shepherd is 43. Actress-model Moon Bloodgood is 36. Actor Jon Bernthal is 35. Rock musician Rick Woolstenhulme (Lifehouse) is 32. Rapper Yung Joc is 29. Actor Aldis Hodge is 25.
Thought for Today: "A faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing." -- Victor Hugo, French author (1802-1885).