Today in History

Today is Thursday, Aug. 8, the 220th day of 2013. There are 145 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 8, 1963, Britain’s “Great Train Robbery” took place as thieves made off with 2.6 million pounds in banknotes.

On this date:

In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte set sail for St. Helena to spend the remainder of his days in exile.

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

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

In 1993, in Somalia, four U.S. soldiers were killed when a land mine was detonated underneath their vehicle, prompting President Bill Clinton to order Army Rangers to try to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.

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

Ten years ago: The Boston Roman Catholic archdiocese offered $55 million to settle more than 500 lawsuits stemming from alleged sex abuse by priests. (The archdiocese later settled for $85 million.)

Five years ago: China opened the Summer Olympic Games with an extravaganza of fireworks and pageantry. A charter bus crashed near Sherman, Texas, killing 17 members of a Vietnamese-American Catholic group en route to Missouri. Former Democratic presidential candidate and vice-presidential nominee John Edwards admitted having an extramarital affair. Russia sent an armored column into the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia after Georgia launched an offensive to crush separatists there.

One year ago: Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi fired his intelligence chief for failing to act on an Israeli warning of an imminent attack days before militants stormed a border post in the Sinai Peninsula and killed 16 soldiers. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States became the first three-time gold medalists in Olympic beach volleyball history, beating Jennifer Kessy and April Ross 21-16, 21-16 in the all-American final.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Richard Anderson is 87. Joan Mondale, wife of former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, is 83. Actress Nita Talbot is 83. Singer Mel Tillis is 81. Actor Dustin Hoffman is 76. Actress Connie Stevens is 75. Country singer Phil Balsley (The Statler Brothers) is 74. Actor Larry Wilcox is 66. Actor Keith Carradine is 64. Rhythm-and-blues singer Airrion Love (The Stylistics) is 64. Country singer Jamie O’Hara is 63. Movie director Martin Brest is 62. Radio-TV personality Robin Quivers is 61. Percussionist Anton Fig (TV: “Late Show With David Letterman”) is 60. Actor Donny Most is 60. Rock musician Dennis Drew (10,000 Maniacs) is 56. TV personality Deborah Norville is 55. Actor-singer Harry Crosby is 55. Rock musician The Edge (U2) is 52. Rock musician Rikki Rockett (Poison) is 52. Rapper Kool Moe Dee is 51. Rock musician Ralph Rieckermann is 51. Middle distance runner Suzy Favor-Hamilton is 45. Rock singer Scott Stapp is 40. Country singer Mark Wills is 40. Actor Kohl Sudduth is 39. Rock musician Tom Linton (Jimmy Eat World) is 38. Singer JC Chasez (‘N Sync) is 37. Actress Tawny Cypress is 37. Rhythm-and-blues singer Drew Lachey (lah-SHAY’) (98 Degrees) is 37. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marsha Ambrosius is 36. Actress Lindsay Sloane is 36. Actress Countess Vaughn is 35. Actor Michael Urie is 33. Tennis player Roger Federer is 32. Actress Meagan Good is 32. Britain’s Princess Beatrice of York is 25. Actor Ken Baumann is 24.

Thought for Today: “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” — Sydney J. Harris, American journalist (1917-1986).

(Above Advance for Use Thursday, Aug. 8)

Copyright 2013, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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