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Today in history: August 25

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

Today is Friday, Aug. 25, the 237th day of 2006. There are 128 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Aug. 25, 1944, during World War II, Paris was liberated by Allied forces after four years of Nazi occupation.

On this date:
In 1825, Uruguay declared independence from Brazil.

In 1875, Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to swim across the English Channel, getting from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in 22 hours.

In 1916, the National Park Service was established within the Department of the Interior.

In 1921, the United States signed a peace treaty with Germany.

In 1943, U.S. forces overran New Georgia in the Solomon Islands during World War II.

In 1950, President Truman ordered the Army to seize control of the nation’s railroads to avert a strike.

In 1956, human sexuality researcher Alfred Kinsey died in Bloomington, Ind., at age 62.

In 1981, the U.S. spacecraft Voyager 2 came within 63,000 miles of Saturn’s cloud cover, sending back pictures of and data about the ringed planet.

In 1985, Samantha Smith, the schoolgirl whose letter to Yuri V. Andropov resulted in her famous peace tour of the Soviet Union, died with her father in an airliner crash in Maine.

In 1998, retired Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell died in Richmond, Va., at age 90.

Ten years ago: President Clinton began a whistlestop train trip in Huntington, W.Va., that would take him to the Democratic national convention in Chicago.

Five years ago: Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby, a single mother and former waitress, married Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon in Oslo. Rhythm-and-blues singer Aaliyah was killed with eight others in a plane crash in the Bahamas; she was 22.

One year ago: Hurricane Katrina hit Florida with 80 mph winds and headed into the Gulf of Mexico. The base closing commission voted to shut down the Army’s historic Walter Reed hospital as it endorsed much of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s broader plan to streamline support services across the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Miss America pageant announced it was leaving Atlantic City, N.J., its home for 84 years. (The pageant ended up moving to Las Vegas.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Van Johnson is 90. Actor-producer Mel Ferrer is 89. Game show host Monty Hall is 85. Actor Sean Connery is 76. Actor Page Johnson is 76. Talk show/game show host Regis Philbin is 75. Actor Tom Skerritt is 73. Jazz musician Wayne Shorter is 73. Movie director Hugh Hudson is 70. Actor David Canary is 68. Movie director John Badham is 67. Filmmaker Marshall Brickman is 65. Rhythm-and-blues singer Walter Williams (The O’Jays) is 64. Actor Anthony Heald is 62. Actress Anne Archer is 59. Rock singer-actor Gene Simmons is 57. Actor John Savage is 57. Country singer-musician Henry Paul (Blackhawk) is 57. Rock singer Rob Halford is 55. Rock musician Geoff Downes (Asia) is 54. Rock singer Elvis Costello is 52. Movie director Tim Burton is 48. Actress Ally Walker is 45. Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus is 45. Rock musician Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard) is 44. Actress Joanne Whalley is 42. Actor Blair Underwood is 42. Rap DJ Terminator X (Public Enemy) is 40. Alternative country singer Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) is 39. Actor David Alan Basche is 38. TV chef Rachael Ray (”30 Minute Meals”) is 38. Country singer Jo Dee Messina is 36. Model Claudia Schiffer is 36. Country singer Brice Long is 35. Actor Kel Mitchell is 28. Actress Rachel Bilson (“The O.C.”) is 25.

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