Today is Thursday, Aug. 19, the 232nd day of 2004. There are 134 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Aug. 19, 1812, the USS Constitution defeated the British frigate Guerriere east of Nova Scotia during the War of 1812.

On this date:

In 1848, the New York Herald reported the discovery of gold in California.

In 1929, the comedy program "Amos and Andy," starring Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, made its network radio debut on NBC.

In 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.

In 1942, about 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France, suffering about 50 percent casualties.

In 1955, severe flooding in the Northeast claimed some 200 lives.

In 1960, a tribunal in Moscow convicted American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage.

In 1974, U.S. Ambassador Rodger P. Davies was fatally wounded by a bullet that penetrated the American embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus, during a protest by Greek Cypriots.

In 1976, President Ford won the Republican presidential nomination at the party's convention in Kansas City.

In 1977, comedian Groucho Marx died in Los Angeles at age 86.

In 1991, Soviet hard-liners announced to a shocked world that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had been removed from power. (The coup collapsed two days later.)

Ten years ago: President Clinton abruptly halted the nation's three-decade open-door policy for Cuban refugees.

Five years ago: Confronting questions about possible past drug use, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush told reporters he had not used illegal drugs in 25 years, and added that if voters insisted on knowing more, "they can go find somebody else to vote for."

One year ago: A suicide truck bomb struck U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing 22, including the top U.N. envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello. A suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem killed 22 people.

Today's Birthdays: Actor L.Q. Jones is 77. Actress Debra Paget is 71. Tennis coach Renee Richards is 70. Actress Diana Muldaur is 66. Rock musician Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith) is 65. Singer Johnny Nash is 64. Actress Jill St. John is 64. Actor and former U.S. senator Fred Thompson is 62. Singer Billy J. Kramer is 61. Country singer-songwriter Eddy Raven is 60. Rock singer Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) is 59. Former President Clinton is 58. Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore, is 56. Actor Gerald McRaney is 56. Rock musician John Deacon (Queen) is 53. Actor Jonathan Frakes is 52. Political consultant Mary Matalin is 51. Actor Peter Gallagher is 49. Actor Adam Arkin is 48. Singer-songwriter Gary Chapman is 47. Actor Martin Donovan is 47. Actor Eric Lutes is 42. Actor John Stamos is 41. Actress Kyra Sedgwick is 39. Actor Kevin Dillon is 39. Country singer Lee Ann Womack is 38. T.V. reporter Tabitha Soren is 37. Country singer-songwriter Mark McGuinn is 36. Actor Matthew Perry is 35. Country singer Clay Walker is 35. Rapper Fat Joe is 34. Tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez is 33. Actress Erika Christensen is 22. Actor J. Evan Bonifant is 19. Rapper Lil' Romeo is 15.

Thought for Today: "One can live in the shadow of an idea without grasping it." - Elizabeth Bowen, Irish author (1899-1973).


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