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Today in history: August 6

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Aug. 6, the 218th day of 2006. There are 147 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 6, 1945, during World War II, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing an estimated 140,000 people in the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare.

On this date:

In 1787, the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia began to debate the articles contained in a draft of the United States Constitution.

In 1806, 200 years ago, the Holy Roman Empire went out of existence as Emperor Francis II abdicated.

In 1825, Bolivia proclaimed its independence from Peru.

In 1890, convicted murderer William Kemmler became the first person to be executed in the electric chair as he was put to death at Auburn State Prison in New York.

In 1926, Gertrude Ederle of New York became the first American woman to swim the English Channel, arriving in Kingsdown, England, from France in 14½ hours.

In 1926, Warner Brothers premiered its Vitaphone sound-on-disc movie system in New York with a showing of “Don Juan” featuring music and sound effects.

In 1962, Jamaica became an independent dominion within the British Commonwealth.

In 1965, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.

In 1978, Pope Paul VI died at Castel Gandolfo at age 80.

In 1986, William J. Schroeder died after living 620 days with the Jarvik-7 artificial heart.

Ten years ago: Officials announced the Air Force had punished 16 officers in connection with the crash that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others in April 1996.

Five years ago: Ending months of speculation, former President Clinton said he would write his much sought-after memoirs for publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Gen. Duong Van “Big” Minh, who was the president of South Vietnam for just a few days before the country fell to Communist invaders in 1975, died in Pasadena, Calif., at age 86. Brazilian author Jorge Amado died at age 88.

One year ago: Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose soldier-son, Casey, was killed in Iraq, began a weeks-long protest outside President Bush’s ranch in Texas. Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who quit Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Cabinet to protest the Iraq war, died in Inverness, Scotland, at age 59. A Tunisian airliner plunged into the Mediterranean while trying to make an emergency landing in Sicily; 16 people were killed.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress-singer Abbey Lincoln is 76. Jazz musician Charlie Haden is 69. Actor-director Peter Bonerz is 68. Actor Michael Anderson Jr. is 63. Actor Dorian Harewood is 56. Actress Catherine Hicks is 55. Rock singer Pat McDonald (Timbuk 3) is 54. Country musician Mark DuFresne (Confederate Railroad) is 53. Actress Stepfanie Kramer is 50. Actress Faith Prince is 49. Rhythm-and-blues singer Randy DeBarge is 48. Country singers Peggy and Patsy Lynn are 42. Actor Jeremy Ratchford is 41. Country singer Lisa Stewart is 38. Movie writer-director M. Night Shyamalan is 36. Actress Merrin Dungey is 35. Singer Geri Halliwell is 34. Singer-actor David Campbell is 33. Actress Ever Carradine is 32. Actress Soleil Moon Frye is 30.

Thought for Today: “A successful lie is doubly a lie; an error which has to be corrected is a heavier burden than the truth.” — Dag Hammarskjold, U.N. Secretary-General (1905-1961).