Today in History


By The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Aug. 11, the 224th day of 2016. There are 142 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 11, 1956, abstract painter Jackson Pollock, 44, died in an automobile accident on Long Island, New York.

On this date:

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

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

In 1975, the United States vetoed the proposed admission of North and South Vietnam to the United Nations, following the Security Council’s refusal to consider South Korea’s application.

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 1991, Shiite (SHEE’-eyet) Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon released two Western captives: Edward Tracy, an American held nearly five years, and Jerome Leyraud, a Frenchman who’d been abducted by a rival group three days earlier.

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.)

In 2014, Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams, 63, died in Tiburon, California, a suicide.

Ten years ago: The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah. TV talk show host Mike Douglas died in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on his 81st birthday.

Five years ago: Minnesota rivals Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann sparred bitterly during an eight-candidate Republican debate in Ames, Iowa; Mitt Romney sought to stay above the fray as he focused on President Barack Obama, saying, “Our president simply doesn’t understand how to lead and how to grow the economy.”

One year ago: Federal authorities charged that an international web of hackers and traders had made $100 million on Wall Street by stealing a look at corporate press releases before they went out and then trading on that information ahead of the pack. China rattled global financial markets by devaluing its currency in an effort in part to revive economic growth. New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith suffered a broken jaw after being punched by teammate IK Enemkpali (EYE-KAY eh-nehm-PAH’-lee) in the locker room. (Enemkpali was released and claimed off waivers by Buffalo a day later.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Arlene Dahl is 91. Songwriter-producer Kenny Gamble is 73. Rock musician Jim Kale (Guess Who) is 73. Magazine columnist Marilyn Vos Savant is 70. Country singer John Conlee is 70. Singer Eric Carmen is 67. Computer scientist and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is 66. Wrestler-actor Hulk Hogan is 63. Singer Joe Jackson is 62. Playwright David Henry Hwang is 59. Actor Miguel A. Nunez Jr. is 57. Actress Viola Davis is 51. Actor Duane Martin is 51. Actor-host Joe Rogan is 49. Rhythm-and-blues musician Chris Dave is 48. Actress Anna Gunn is 48. Actress Ashley Jensen is 48. Actress Sophie Okonedo is 48. Rock guitarist Charlie Sexton is 48. Hip-hop artist Ali Shaheed Muhammad is 46. Actor Nigel Harman is 43. Actor Will Friedle is 40. Actor Rob Kerkovich is 37. Actress Merritt Wever is 36. Actor Chris Hemsworth is 33. Rock musician Heath Fogg (Alabama Shakes) is 32. Singer J-Boog is 31. Rapper Asher Roth is 31. Actress Alyson Stoner is 23.

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