Today is Tuesday, Aug. 31, the 244th day of 2004. There are 122 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

Fifty years ago, on Aug. 31, 1954, Hurricane Carol hit the northeastern Atlantic states. Connecticut, Rhode Island and part of Massachusetts bore the brunt of the storm, which resulted in nearly 70 deaths.

On this date:

In 1886, an earthquake rocked Charleston, S.C., killing up to 110 people.

In 1887, Thomas A. Edison received a patent for his kinetoscope, a device that produced moving pictures.

In 1888, Mary Ann Nicholls was found murdered in London's East End in what is generally regarded as the first slaying committed by Jack the Ripper.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act prohibiting the export of U.S. arms to belligerents.

In 1962, the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago became independent within the British Commonwealth.

In 1969, boxer Rocky Marciano died in a light airplane crash in Iowa, a day before his 46th birthday.

In 1980, Poland's Solidarity labor movement was born with an agreement signed in Gdansk that ended a 17-day-old strike.

In 1985, Richard Ramirez, later convicted of California's Night Stalker killings, was captured by residents of an East Los Angeles neighborhood.

In 1986, 82 people were killed when an Aeromexico jetliner and a small private plane collided over Cerritos, Calif.

In 1988, 14 people were killed when a Delta Boeing 727 crashed during takeoff from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

Ten years ago: The Irish Republican Army declared a cease-fire. Russia officially ended its military presence in the former East Germany and the Baltics after half a century.

Five years ago: Detroit's teachers went on strike, wiping out the first day of class for 172,000 students in one of the largest teachers' strikes in years. (The walkout lasted nine days.) An LAPA Boeing 737-200 crashed on takeoff from Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 72 people, including five on the ground.

One year ago: Vowing revenge and beating their chests, more than 300,000 Shiites marched behind the rose-strewn coffin of a beloved cleric, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, who had been assassinated in a car bombing in Najaf, Iraq.

Today's Birthdays: Broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr is 88. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Frank Robinson is 69. Actor Warren Berlinger is 67. Rock musician Jerry Allison (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 65. Actor Jack Thompson is 64. Violinist Itzhak Perlman is 59. Singer Van Morrison is 59. Rock musician Rudolf Schenker (The Scorpions) is 56. Actor Richard Gere is 55. Rock singer Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze) is 47. Rock musician Gina Schock (The Go-Go's) is 47. Singer Tony DeFranco (The DeFranco Family) is 45. Singer Chris Whitley is 44. Rhythm and blues musician Larry Waddell (Mint Condition) is 41. Actor Jaime P. Gomez is 39. Rock musician Jeff Russo (Tonic) is 35. Singer-composer Debbie Gibson is 34. Rock musician Greg Richling (Wallflowers) is 34. Actor Chris Tucker is 32. Rhythm and blues singer Tamara (Trina & Tamara) is 27.

Thought for Today: "Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution, yet." - Mae West, American actress (1892-1980).

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