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Today in history: August 13

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

Today is Sunday, Aug. 13, the 225th day of 2006. There are 140 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Aug. 13, 1961, Berlin was divided as East Germany sealed off the border between the city’s eastern and western sectors in order to halt the flight of refugees.

On this date:
In 1521, Spanish conqueror Hernando Cortez captured present-day Mexico City from the Aztec Indians.

In 1624, French King Louis XIII named Cardinal Richelieu his first minister.

In 1704, the Battle of Blenheim was fought during the War of the Spanish Succession, resulting in a victory for English and Austrian forces over French and Bavarian soldiers.

In 1846, the American flag was raised for the first time in Los Angeles.

In 1910, Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, died in London.

In 1932, Adolf Hitler rejected the post of vice chancellor of Germany, saying he was prepared to hold out “for all or nothing.”

In 1934, the satirical comic strip “Li’l Abner,” created by Al Capp, made its debut.

In 1946, author H.G. Wells died in London.

In 1960, the first two-way telephone conversation by satellite took place with the help of Echo 1.

In 1981, in a ceremony at his California ranch, President Reagan signed a historic package of tax and budget reductions.

In 1995, Baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle died at a Dallas hospital of rapidly spreading liver cancer; he was 63.

Ten years ago: At their convention in San Diego, Republicans delivered a blistering critique of President Clinton’s record, portraying the Democratic incumbent as an unprincipled liberal conning voters with election-year conservatism.

Five years ago: Macedonia’s rival political leaders sign a landmark peace accord aimed at ending six months of bloody conflict and clearing the way for NATO troops to disarm ethnic Albanian rebels. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi tried, with little apparent success, to ease the anger of Asian neighbors by visiting a controversial war shrine two days before the actual anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender.

One year ago: The Pentagon said for the second time since the Iraq war began, it was replacing body armor for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, citing a need for better protection. Former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange died in Auckland at age 63.

Today’s Birthdays: Television evangelist Rex Humbard is 87. Cuban President Fidel Castro is 80. Actor Pat Harrington is 77. Singer Don Ho is 76. Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders is 73. Actor Kevin Tighe is 62. Actress Gretchen Corbett is 59. Opera singer Kathleen Battle is 58. Singer Dan Fogelberg is 55. Actor Danny Bonaduce is 47. Actress Quinn Cummings is 39. Country singer Andy Griggs is 33. Country musician Mike Melancon (Emerson Drive) is 28.

Thought for Today: “The great business of life is to be, to do, to do without, and to depart.” — John, Viscount Morley of Blackburn, English journalist (1838-1923).