updated 8/10/2007 2:58:18 PM ET 2007-08-10T18:58:18

Today is Saturday, Aug. 11, the 223rd day of 2007. There are 142 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 11, 1909, the first recorded use of the S.O.S. distress signal was by an American ship, the Arapahoe, off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

On this date:

In 1919, Germany’s Weimar Constitution was signed by President Friedrich Ebert.

In 1934, the first federal prisoners arrived at the island prison Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay.

In 1942, during World War II, Vichy government official Pierre Laval publicly declared that “the hour of liberation for France is the hour when Germany wins the war.”

In 1954, a formal peace took hold in Indochina, ending more than seven years of fighting between the French and Communist Vietminh.

In 1956, abstract painter Jackson Pollock, 44, died in an automobile accident on Long Island, in Springs, N.Y.

In 1962, the Soviet Union launched cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev on a 94-hour flight.

In 1965, rioting and looting that claimed 34 lives broke out in the predominantly black Watts section of Los Angeles.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan joked during a voice test for a paid political radio address that he had “signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

In 1991, Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon released two Western captives: Edward Tracy, an American held nearly five years, and Jerome Leyraud, a Frenchman who had been abducted by a rival group three days earlier.

In 1992, the Mall of America, the biggest shopping mall in the U.S., opened in Bloomington, Minn.

Ten years ago: President Bill Clinton made the first use of the historic line-item veto approved by Congress, rejecting three items in spending and tax bills. (However, the Supreme Court later struck down the line-item veto as unconstitutional.)

Five years ago: Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, a bioweapons expert under scrutiny for anthrax-laced letters, fiercely denied any involvement and said he had cooperated with the investigation. U.S. Airways filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Karrie Webb won her third Women’s British Open title.

One year ago: The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah. BP PLC announced it would keep one side of the Prudhoe Bay oil field open as it replaced corroded pipes, averting a larger crimp in the nation’s oil supply. TV talk show host Mike Douglas died in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on his 81st birthday.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Arlene Dahl is 79. Actress Anna Massey is 70. Songwriter-producer Kenny Gamble is 64. Rock musician Jim Kale (Guess Who) is 64. Country singer John Conlee is 61. Singer Eric Carmen is 58. Wrestler-actor Hulk Hogan is 54. Singer Joe Jackson is 53. Playwright David Henry Hwang is 50. Actor Miguel A. Nunez Jr. is 43. Actress Viola Davis is 42. Actor Duane Martin is 42. Actor-host Joe Rogan is 40. Rock guitarist Charlie Sexton is

39. Rhythm-and-blues musician Chris Dave (Mint Condition) is 39. Hip-hop artist Ali Shaheed Muhammad is 37. Actor Will Friedle is

31. Rapper Chris Kelly (Kris Kross) is 29. Singer J-Boog is 22.

Thought for Today: “Literature is news that STAYS news.” — Ezra Pound, American poet-critic (1885-1972).

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