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Today in History for Aug. 11, 2013

Today is Sunday, Aug. 11, the 223rd day of 2013. There are 142 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight:

On August 11, 1965, rioting and looting that claimed 34 lives broke out in the predominantly black Watts section of Los Angeles.

On this date:

In 1786, Capt. Francis Light arrived in Penang to claim the Malaysian island for Britain.

In 1860, the nation’s first successful silver mill began operation near Virginia City, Nev.

In 1909, the steamship SS Arapahoe became the first ship in North America to issue an S.O.S. distress signal, off North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras.

In 1934, the first federal prisoners arrived at Alcatraz Island (a former military prison) in San Francisco Bay.

In 1942, during World War II, Pierre Laval, prime minister of Vichy France, publicly declared that “the hour of liberation for France is the hour when Germany wins the war.”

In 1952, Hussein bin Talal was proclaimed King of Jordan, beginning a reign lasting nearly 47 years.

In 1954, a formal peace took hold in Indochina, ending more than seven years of fighting between the French and Communist Viet Minh.

In 1962, Andrian Nikolayev became the Soviet Union’s third cosmonaut in space as he was launched on a 94-hour flight.

In 1984, during a voice test for a paid political radio address, President Ronald Reagan joked that he had “signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

In 1992, the Mall of America opened in Bloomington, Minn.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton named Army Gen. John Shalikashvili to be the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succeeding the retiring Gen. Colin Powell.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton made the first use of the historic line-item veto, rejecting three items in spending and tax bills. (However, the U.S. Supreme Court later struck down the veto as unconstitutional.)

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush chose Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. NATO took command of the 5,000-strong peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. Charles Taylor resigned as Liberia’s president and went into exile in Nigeria. Herb Brooks, 66, who coached the U.S. Olympic hockey team to the “Miracle on Ice” victory over the Soviet Union in 1980, died in a car wreck near Minneapolis.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush, back from his Asia tour, warned of a “dramatic and brutal escalation” of violence by Russia in the former Soviet republic of Georgia; he pressed Moscow to accept an immediate cease-fire and to pull back its troops. In Beijing, Michael Phelps got his second gold medal – thanks to a late comeback in the 400-meter freestyle relay by Jason Lezak, who lunged to the wall just ahead of the French anchor. Actor-playwright George Furth died in Santa Monica at age 75.

One year ago: Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney announced his choice of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate. Usain Bolt capped his perfect Summer Games by leading Jamaica to victory in a world-record 36.84 seconds in the 4×100 meters. Allyson Felix won her third gold medal as the Americans rolled to an easy victory in the women’s 4×400 relay. The heavily favored U.S. women’s basketball team won a fifth straight gold medal with an 86-50 victory over France.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Arlene Dahl is 88. Songwriter-producer Kenny Gamble is 70. Rock musician Jim Kale (Guess Who) is 70. Magazine columnist Marilyn Vos Savant is 67. Country singer John Conlee is 67. Singer Eric Carmen is 64. Computer scientist and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is 63. Wrestler-actor Hulk Hogan is 60. Singer Joe Jackson is 59. Playwright David Henry Hwang is 56. Actor Miguel A. Nunez Jr. is 49. Actress Viola Davis is 48. Actor Duane Martin is 48. Actor-host Joe Rogan is 46. Rhythm-and-blues musician Chris Dave is 45. Actress Anna Gunn is 45. Actress Ashley Jensen is 45. Rock guitarist Charlie Sexton is 45. Hip-hop artist Ali Shaheed Muhammad is 43. Actor Will Friedle is 37. Actress Merritt Wever is 33. Actor Chris Hemsworth is 30. Rock musician Heath Fogg (Alabama Shakes) is 29. Singer J-Boog is 28. Rapper Asher Roth is 28. Actress Alyson Stoner is 20.

Thought for today: “A pessimist is a man who looks both ways when he’s crossing a one-way street.” — Laurence J. Peter, Canadian-born educator and author of “The Peter Principle” (1919-1990).

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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