Today is Thursday, Aug. 12, the 225th day of 2004. There are 141 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Aug. 12, 1944, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blew up over England.

On this date:

In 1851, Isaac Singer was granted a patent on his sewing machine.

In 1867, President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him as he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

In 1898, the peace protocol ending the Spanish-American War was signed.

In 1898, Hawaii was formally annexed to the United States.

In 1953, the Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.

In 1960, the first balloon satellite - the Echo One - was launched by the United States from Cape Canaveral.

In 1962, one day after launching Andrian Nikolayev into orbit, the Soviet Union also sent up cosmonaut Pavel Popovich; both men landed safely August 15th.

In 1972, the last American combat ground troops left Vietnam.

In 1978, Pope Paul VI, who had died Aug. 6 at age 80, was buried in St. Peter's Basilica.

In 1985, the world's worst single-aircraft disaster occurred as a crippled Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 on a domestic flight crashed into a mountain, killing 520 people.

Ten years ago: In baseball's eighth work stoppage since 1972, players went on strike rather than allow team owners to limit their salaries. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, already sworn in during a private ceremony, took a public oath at the White House. Woodstock '94 opened in Saugerties, N.Y.

Five years ago: Los Angeles County prosecutors charged white supremacist Buford O. Furrow with murder and five counts of attempted murder, all filed as hate crimes, in the wounding of five people at a Jewish community center and the shooting death of a Filipino-American mail carrier. (Federal prosecutors already had charged Furrow in the postman's slaying.)

One year ago: Liberia's leading rebel movement agreed to lift its siege of the capital and vital port within two days, allowing food to flow to hundreds of thousands of hungry people.

Today's Birthdays: Choreographer Michael Kidd is 85. Former Senator Dale Bumpers, D-Ark., is 79. Country singer Porter Wagoner is 77. Singer-musician Buck Owens is 75. Actor George Hamilton is 65. Actress Jennifer Warren is 63. Rock singer-musician Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) is 55. Singer Kid Creole is 54. Jazz musician Pat Metheny is 50. Actor Sam J. Jones is 50. Actor Bruce Greenwood is 48. Country singer Danny Shirley is 48. Pop musician Roy Hay (Culture Club) is 43. Rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot is 41. Actor Peter Krause is 39. Tennis player Pete Sampras is 33. Actor Michael Ian Black ("Ed") is 33. Actress Rebecca Gayheart is 32. Actor Casey Affleck is 29. Rock musician Bill Uechi (Save Ferris) is 29. Actress Dominique Swain is 24.

Thought for Today: "Regrets are as personal as fingerprints." - Margaret Culkin Banning, American writer (1891-1982).

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