Today is Tuesday, Aug. 3, the 216th day of 2004. There are 150 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Aug. 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, on a voyage that took him to the present-day Americas.

On this date:

In 1914, Germany declared war on France.

In 1923, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th president of the United States, following the death of Warren G. Harding.

In 1936, the State Department urged Americans in Spain to leave because of that country's civil war.

In 1943, Gen. George S. Patton slapped a private at an army hospital in Sicily, accusing him of cowardice. (Patton was later ordered by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to apologize for this and a second, similar episode.)

In 1949, the National Basketball Association was formed.

In 1958, the nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater.

In 1980, closing ceremonies were held in Moscow for the 1980 Summer Olympic Games, which had been boycotted by dozens of countries, including the United States.

In 1981, U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike, despite a warning from President Reagan they would be fired, which they were.

In 1987, the Iran-Contra congressional hearings ended, with none of the 29 witnesses tying President Reagan directly to the diversion of arms-sales profits to Nicaraguan rebels.

In 1993, the Senate voted 96-3 to confirm Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ten years ago: President Clinton told a prime-time news conference he would sign either of two Democratic health care plans before Congress. Arkansas carried out the nation's first triple execution in 32 years. Stephen G. Breyer was sworn in as the Supreme Court's newest justice in a private ceremony at Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's Vermont summer home.

Five years ago: Congressional Republicans, shrugging off a presidential veto threat, nailed down the details of an agreement for a 10-year, $792 billion dollar tax cut. Arbitrators ruled the government had to pay the heirs of Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder $16 million dollars for his movie film that captured the assassination of President Kennedy. The first issue of Talk magazine hit newsstands.

One year ago: The Episcopal Church's House of Deputies further paved the way for the Rev. V. Gene Robinson to become the church's first openly gay elected bishop, approving him on a 2-1 vote. Annika Sorenstam completed a career Grand Slam at the Women's British Open, beating Se Ri Pak by a stroke in a thrilling head-to-head showdown. Hank Stram, Marcus Allen, James Lofton, Elvin Bethea and Joe DeLamielleure were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Today's Birthdays: Author P.D. James is 84. Broadway composer Richard Adler is 83. Singer Gordon Stoker (The Jordanaires) is 80. Singer Tony Bennett is 78. Actor Alex Cord is 73. Actor Martin Sheen is 64. Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is 63. Singer Beverly Lee (The Shirelles) is 63. Movie director John Landis is 54. Actress JoMarie Payton is 54. Actor Jay North ("Dennis the Menace") is 53. Actor John C. McGinley is 45. Rock singer-musician Lee Rocker (The Stray Cats) is 43. Rock singer James Hetfield (Metallica) is 41. Rock singer-musician Ed Roland (Collective Soul) is 41. Country musician Dean Sams (Lonestar) is 38. Hip-hop artist Spin (Salt-N-Pepa) is 33. Actress Brigid Conley Walsh is 32. Singer Holly Arnstein (Dream) is 19.

Thought for Today: "When (Columbus) started out he didn't know where he was going; when he got there he didn't know where he was; and when he got back he didn't know where he had been." - Anonymous.


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