Today is Tuesday, Aug. 17, the 230th day of 2004. There are 136 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Aug. 17, 1807, Robert Fulton's North River Steam Boat began heading up New York's Hudson River on its successful round-trip to Albany.

On this date:

In 1863, Federal batteries and ships bombarded Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor during the Civil War.

In 1896, a prospecting party discovered gold in Alaska, a finding that touched off the Klondike gold rush.

In 1942, during World War II, U.S. Eighth Air Force bombers attacked Rouen, France.

In 1942, U.S. Marines led by Lt. Col. Evans E. Carlson raided a Japanese seaplane base on Makin Island.

In 1943, the Allied conquest of Sicily was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina.

In 1962, East German border guards shot and mortally wounded 18-year-old Peter Fechter, who had attempted to cross the Berlin Wall into the western sector.

In 1969, 248 people were killed as Hurricane Camille slammed into the Gulf Coast.

In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair concluded near Bethel, N.Y.

In 1978, the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight ended as Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman landed their Double Eagle Two outside Paris.

In 1987, Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle, died at a Berlin hospital near Spandau Prison at age 93, having apparently committed suicide.

Ten years ago: Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman resigned under pressure, the latest Clinton administration official felled by the Whitewater controversy.

Five years ago: More than 17,000 people were killed when a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Turkey.

One year ago: Federal investigators joined industry teams in the search for clues into what triggered the country's worst power blackout in the Midwest and Northeast as the Bush administration promised to get answers and address whatever problem was found. Insurgents attacked a police station in Afghanistan, killing some two dozen people.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Maureen O'Hara is 84. Actor Robert DeNiro is 61. Movie director Martha Coolidge is 58. Rock musician Sib Hashian is 55. Actor Robert Joy is 53. Rock singer Kevin Rowland (Dexy's Midnight Runners) is 51. Rock musician Colin Moulding (XTC) is 49. Country singer-songwriter Kevin Welch is 49. Singer Belinda Carlisle is 46. Actor Sean Penn is 44. Jazz musician Everette Harp is 43. Rock musician Gilby Clarke is 42. Singer Maria McKee is 40. Rock musician Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes) is 39. Rock musician Jill Cunniff is 38. Actor David Conrad is 37. Singer Donnie Wahlberg is 35. Rapper Posdnuos is 35. Tennis player Jim Courier is 34. Actor Bryton McClure is 18.

Thought for Today: "Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story." - John Barth, American author.


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