updated 8/11/2005 12:02:30 AM ET 2005-08-11T04:02:30

Today is Thursday, Aug. 11, the 223rd day of 2005. There are 142 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Aug. 11, 1965, rioting and looting that claimed 34 lives broke out in the predominantly black Watts section of Los Angeles.

On this date:
In 1860, the nation’s first successful silver mill began operation near Virginia City, Nev.

In 1909, the SOS distress signal was first used by an American ship, the Arapahoe, off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

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 1956, abstract painter Jackson Pollock died in an automobile accident in East Hampton, N.Y.

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

In 1978, chiefs of state and foreign dignitaries arrived in Vatican City for the funeral of Pope Paul VI.

In 1984, President 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 1992, the Mall of America, the biggest U.S. shopping mall, opened in Bloomington, Minn.

In 1997, President 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.)

Ten years ago: President Clinton banned all U.S. nuclear tests, calling his decision “the right step as we continue pulling back from the nuclear precipice.”

Five years ago: The National Transportation Safety Board released evidence reports in the Oct. 31, 1999, crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 off the New England coast; a transcript of the cockpit voice recording showed the chilling details of the pilot’s futile struggle to save the Boeing 767 and its 217 occupants. Pat Buchanan won the Reform Party presidential nomination in a victory bitterly disputed by party founder Ross Perot’s supporters, who chose their own nominee, John Hagelin, in a rival convention.

One year ago: Britain granted its first license for human cloning for the purpose of stem cell research. The U.S. women’s soccer team defeated home team Greece 3-0 on the first day of competition in the 2004 Olympic Games (the opening ceremony took place two days later).

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Jean Parker is 93. Former TV talk show host Mike Douglas is 80. Actress Arlene Dahl is 77. Rev. Jerry Falwell is 72. Actress Anna Massey is 68. Songwriter-producer Kenny Gamble is 62. Rock musician Jim Kale (Guess Who) is 62. Country singer John Conlee is 59. Singer Eric Carmen is 56. Wrestler-actor Hulk Hogan is 52. Singer Joe Jackson is 51. Actor Miguel A. Nunez Jr. is 41. Actor-host Joe Rogan is 38. Rock guitarist Charlie Sexton is 37. Rhythm-and-blues musician Chris Dave (Mint Condition) is 37. Hip-hop artist Ali Shaheed Muhammad is 35. Actor Will Friedle is 29. Rapper Chris Kelly (Kris Kross) is 27. Singer J. Boog is 20.

Thought for Today: “A pessimist is a man who looks both ways when he’s crossing a one-way street.” — Laurence J. Peter, Canadian-born educator and author of “The Peter Principle” (1919-1990).

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