Almanac

Today is Friday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2018. There are 122 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 31, 1972, at the Munich Summer Olympics, American swimmer Mark Spitz won his fourth and fifth gold medals in the 100-meter butterfly and 800-meter freestyle relay.

On this date:

In 1886, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.3 devastated Charleston, South Carolina, killing at least 60 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In 1939, the first issue of Marvel Comics, featuring the Human Torch, was published by Timely Publications in New York.

In 1954, Hurricane Carol hit the northeastern Atlantic states; Connecticut, Rhode Island and part of Massachusetts bore the brunt of the storm, which resulted in some 70 deaths.

In 1965, the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in voting to establish the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In 1991, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan declared their independence, raising to ten the number of republics seeking to secede from the Soviet Union.

In 1992, white separatist Randy Weaver surrendered to authorities in Naples, Idaho, ending an 11-day siege by federal agents that had claimed the lives of Weaver’s wife, son and a deputy U.S. marshal. (Weaver was acquitted of murder and all other charges in connection with the confrontation; he was convicted of failing to appear for trial on firearms charges and was sentenced to 18 months in prison but given credit for 14 months he’d already served.)

Ten years ago: With Hurricane Gustav approaching New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded with the last of its residents to get out, imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on those who were staying and warned looters they would be sent directly to prison.

Five years ago: Short of support at home and allies abroad, President Barack Obama stepped back from a missile strike against Syria and instead asked Congress to support a strike against President Bashar Assad’s regime for suspected use of chemical weapons.