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Today in history: August 15

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

Today is Tuesday, Aug. 15, the 227th day of 2006. There are 138 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

Aug. 15, 1945, was proclaimed V-J Day by the Allies, a day after Japan agreed to surrender unconditionally.

On this date:
In 1769, Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the island of Corsica.

In 1914, the Panama Canal opened to traffic.

In 1935, humorist Will Rogers and aviator Wiley Post were killed when their airplane crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces landed in southern France.

In 1947, India became independent after some 200 years of British rule.

In 1948, the Republic of Korea was proclaimed.

In 1961, East German workers began building the Berlin Wall.

In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair opened in upstate New York.

In 1971, President Nixon announced a 90-day freeze on wages, prices and rents.

In 1998, 29 people were killed by a car bomb in Omagh, Northern Ireland; a splinter group calling itself the Real IRA claimed responsibility.

Ten years ago: Bob Dole claimed the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in San Diego, offering himself as the “bridge to a time of tranquility.” Frederick Martin Davidson, a graduate student at San Diego State University, shot and killed three engineering professors (Davidson was later sentenced to three life terms in prison).

Five years ago: A Texas appeals court halted the execution of Napoleon Beazley just hours before he was scheduled to die for a murder he’d committed as a teenager. (Beazley was executed in May 2002.) The Air Force gave the go-ahead to build its new F-22 fighter. Robert R. Courtney, a Kansas City, Mo., pharmacist accused of diluting chemotherapy drugs, surrendered to the FBI. (He was later sentenced to 30 years in prison.) Astronomers announced the discovery of the first solar system outside our own.

One year ago: Iraqi leaders failed to meet a key deadline for finishing a new constitution. Gang members rioted in seven Guatemalan prisons, leaving 35 inmates dead. Phil Mickelson claimed a one-shot victory in the PGA Championship in Springfield, N.J. James Dougherty, the retired Los Angeles detective who was the first husband of Marilyn Monroe, died in San Rafael, Calif., at age 84.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Rose Marie is 83. Political activist Phyllis Schlafly is 82. Actor Mike Connors is 81. Jazz musician Oscar Peterson is 81. Rhythm-and-blues singer Bill Pinkney (The Drifters) is 81. Actress Lori Nelson is 73. Singer-producer Bobby Byrd is 72. Civil rights activist Vernon Jordan is 71. Actor Jim Dale is 71. Actress Pat Priest is 70. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is 68. Musician Pete York (Spencer Davis Group) is 64. Author-journalist Linda Ellerbee is 62. Songwriter Jimmy Webb is 60. Britain’s Princess Anne is 56. Actress Tess Harper is 56. Actor Larry Mathews is 51. Actor Zeljko Ivanek is 49. Rock singer-musician Matt Johnson (The The) is 45. Actress Debi Mazar is 42. Country singer Angela Rae (Wild Horses) is 40. Actress Debra Messing is 38. Actor Anthony Anderson is 36. Actor Ben Affleck is 34. Singer Mikey Graham (Boyzone) is 34. Actress Natasha Henstridge is 32.

Thought for Today: “Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.” — Hannah Arendt, American author and philosopher (1906-1975).