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Today in History

Posted: August 8, 2014 - 12:09am

Today is Friday, August 8, the 220th day of 2014. There are 145 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon announced his resignation, effective the next day, following damaging new revelations in the Watergate scandal.

On this date:

In 1814, during the War of 1812, peace talks between the United States and Britain began in Ghent, Belgium.

In 1911, President William Howard Taft signed a measure raising the number of U.S. representatives from 391 to 433, effective with the next Congress, with a proviso to add two more when New Mexico and Arizona became states.

In 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Japan completed its occupation of Beijing.

In 1942, during World War II, six Nazi saboteurs who were captured after landing in the U.S. were executed in Washington, D.C.; two others who’d cooperated with authorities were spared.

In 1945, President Harry S. Truman signed the U.S. instrument of ratification for the United Nations Charter. The Soviet Union declared war against Japan during World War II.

In 1953, the United States and South Korea initialed a mutual security pact.

In 1963, Britain’s “Great Train Robbery” took place as thieves made off with 2.6 million pounds in banknotes.

In 1968, the Republican national convention in Miami Beach nominated Richard Nixon for president on the first ballot.

In 1973, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew branded as “damned lies” reports he had taken kickbacks from government contracts in Maryland, and vowed not to resign — which he ended up doing.

In 1978, the U.S. launched Pioneer Venus 2, which carried scientific probes to study the atmosphere of Venus.

In 1994, Israel and Jordan opened the first road link between the two once-warring countries.

In 2007, space shuttle Endeavour roared into orbit with teacher-astronaut Barbara Morgan on board.

Ten years ago: Alan Keyes, the Republican two-time presidential hopeful, threw his hat into Illinois’ U.S. Senate race (he ended up losing in a landslide to Democrat Barack Obama). Actress Fay Wray, the damsel held atop the Empire State Building by the giant ape in “King Kong,” died in New York City at age 96.

Five years ago: Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in as the U.S. Supreme Court’s first Hispanic and third female justice. A small plane collided with a sightseeing helicopter over the Hudson River in New York City, killing nine people, including five Italian tourists. Typhoon Morakot slammed into Taiwan, leaving more than 670 either dead or missing (the typhoon also killed 22 people in the Philippines and eight in China).

One year ago: The U.S. sharply escalated its drone war in Yemen, with military officials in the Arab country reporting three strikes that left a dozen dead. Actress Karen Black, 74, who was featured in such counterculture favorites as “Easy Rider,” Five Easy Pieces” and “Nashville,” died in Los Angeles. Opera singer Regina Resnik, 90, died in New York.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Richard Anderson is 88. Actress Nita Talbot is 84. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian is 84. Singer Mel Tillis is 82. Actor Dustin Hoffman is 77. Actress Connie Stevens is 76. Country singer Phil Balsley (The Statler Brothers) is 75. Actor Larry Wilcox is 67. Actor Keith Carradine is 65. Rhythm-and-blues singer Airrion Love (The Stylistics) is 65. Country singer Jamie O’Hara is 64. Movie director Martin Brest is 63. Radio-TV personality Robin Quivers is 62. Percussionist Anton Fig (TV: “Late Show With David Letterman”) is 61. Actor Donny Most is 61. Rock musician Dennis Drew (10,000 Maniacs) is 57. TV personality Deborah Norville is 56. Actor-singer Harry Crosby is 56. Rock musician The Edge (U2) is 53. Rock musician Rikki Rockett (Poison) is 53. Rapper Kool Moe Dee is 52. Rock musician Ralph Rieckermann is 52. Middle distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton is 46. Rock singer Scott Stapp is 41. Country singer Mark Wills is 41. Actor Kohl Sudduth is 40. Rock musician Tom Linton (Jimmy Eat World) is 39. Singer JC Chasez (‘N Sync) is 38. Actress Tawny Cypress is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer Drew Lachey (lah-SHAY’) (98 Degrees) is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marsha Ambrosius is 37. Actress Lindsay Sloane is 37. Actress Countess Vaughn is 36. Actor Michael Urie is 34. Tennis player Roger Federer is 33. Actress Meagan Good is 33. Britain’s Princess Beatrice of York is 26. Actor Ken Baumann is 25. Pop singer Shawn Mendes is 16.

Thought for Today: “It is the anonymous ‘they,’ the enigmatic ‘they’ who are in charge. Who is ‘they’? I don’t know. Nobody knows. Not even ‘they’ themselves.” — Joseph Heller, American author (1923-1999).

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