updated 8/9/2006 12:01:55 AM ET 2006-08-09T04:01:55

Today is Wednesday, Aug. 9, the 221st day of 2006. There are 144 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, the United States exploded a nuclear device over Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people.

On this date:

In 1842, the United States and Canada resolved a border dispute by signing the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

In 1848, the Free-Soil Party convened in Buffalo, N.Y., where it nominated Martin Van Buren for president.

In 1854, Henry David Thoreau published “Walden,” which described his experiences while living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts.

In 1902, Edward VII was crowned king of England following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.

In 1930, a forerunner of the cartoon character Betty Boop made her debut in Max Fleischer’s animated short “Dizzy Dishes.”

In 1936, Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal at the Berlin Olympics as the United States took first place in the 400-meter relay.

In 1965, Singapore proclaimed its independence from the Malaysian Federation.

In 1969, actress Sharon Tate and four other people were found brutally murdered in Tate’s Los Angeles home; cult leader Charles Manson and a group of his disciples were later convicted of the crime.

In 1974, President Nixon’s resignation took effect. Vice President Gerald R. Ford became the nation’s 38th chief executive.

In 1995, Jerry Garcia, lead singer of the Grateful Dead, died in San Francisco of a heart attack at age 53.

Ten years ago: Bob Dole telephoned Jack Kemp to ask him to be his running mate; Kemp accepted. A weary-looking Boris Yeltsin was sworn into his second term as president of Russia.

Five years ago: A suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a central Jerusalem pizzeria, killing himself and 15 other people. President Bush approved federal funding only for existing lines of embryonic stem cells.

One year ago: The space shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven safely returned to Earth, ending a 14-day safety test that was shadowed by the Columbia tragedy. Charles McCoy Jr. pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and 10 other charges in a series of Ohio highway shootings and was sentenced to 27 years in prison. Author Judith Rossner, who wrote “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” died in New York City at age 70.

Today’s Birthdays: Former baseball manager Ralph Houk is 87. Rhythm-and-blues singer Billy Henderson (The Spinners) is 67. Jazz musician Jack DeJohnette is 64. Comedian-director David Steinberg is 64. Boxing Hall-of-Famer Ken Norton is 63. Actor Sam Elliott is

62. Singer Barbara Mason is 59. Actress Melanie Griffith is 49. Actress Amanda Bearse is 48. Rapper Kurtis Blow is 47. Singer Aimee Mann is 46. Singer Whitney Houston is 43. Actor Pat Petersen is 40. Football player Deion Sanders is 39. Actress Gillian Anderson is

38. Actor Eric Bana is 38. Rock musician Arion Salazar (Third Eye Blind) is 36. Rapper Mack 10 is 35. Latin rock singer Juanes is 34. Actress Liz Vassey is 34. Actress Rhona Mitra is 31. Actress Jessica Capshaw is 30.

Thought for Today: “Hope is a waking dream.” — Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384 B.C.-322 B.C.).

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