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Today in History — August 3

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

BC-History-Aug. 3,0614

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Aug. 3, the 215th day of 2007. There are 150 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

Two hundred years ago, on Aug. 3, 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr went on trial before a federal court in Richmond, Va., charged with treason. (He was acquitted less than a month later.)

On this date:

In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, on a voyage that took him to the present-day Americas.

In 1914, Germany declared war on France at the onset of World War I.

In 1923, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th president of the United States, following the death of Warren G. Harding.

In 1936, the U.S. State Department urged Americans in Spain to leave because of that country’s civil war.

In 1943, Gen. George S. Patton slapped a private at an army hospital in Sicily, accusing him of cowardice. (Patton was later ordered by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to apologize for this and a second, similar episode.)

In 1949, the National Basketball Association was formed as a merger of the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League.

In 1958, the nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater.

In 1980, closing ceremonies were held in Moscow for the Summer Olympic Games, which had been boycotted by dozens of countries, including the U.S.

In 1981, U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike, despite a warning from President Ronald Reagan they would be fired, which they were.

In 1987, the Iran-Contra congressional hearings ended, with none of the 29 witnesses tying President Reagan directly to the diversion of arms-sales profits to Nicaraguan rebels.

Ten years ago: Iran’s new president, moderate Muslim cleric Mohammad Khatami, took office with a message of peace to the world but said his country opposed the “high-handedness of certain big countries,” a reference to the U.S.

Five years ago: Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian declared in a speech that Taiwan was “not someone else’s province” but rather an independent country separate from China. (Chen’s comments sparked an uproar both in China and at home, prompting him to back away from his pointed rhetoric.)

One year ago: In Afghanistan, 21 civilians were killed in a suicide car bombing near Canadian military vehicles in a town market in Kandahar province; U.S. forces killed 25 Taliban in a raid in Helmand province. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, a soprano who had won global acclaim for her renditions of Mozart and Strauss, died in Schruns, Austria, at age 90.

Today’s Birthdays: Author P.D. James is 87. Broadway composer Richard Adler is 86. Singer Gordon Stoker (The Jordanaires) is 83. Singer Tony Bennett is 81. Actor Martin Sheen is 67. Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is 66. Singer Beverly Lee (The Shirelles) is 66. Rock musician B.B. Dickerson is 58. Movie director John Landis is

57. Actress JoMarie Payton is 57. Actor Jay North (“Dennis the Menace”) is 56. Actor John C. McGinley is 48. Rock singer-musician Lee Rocker (The Stray Cats) is 46. Rock singer James Hetfield (Metallica) is 44. Rock singer-musician Ed Roland (Collective Soul) is 44. Actor Isaiah Washington is 44. Country musician Dean Sams (Lonestar) is 41. Hip-hop artist Spinderella (Salt-N-Pepa) is 36. Actress Brigid Brannagh is 35. Actress Evangeline Lilly is 28. Singer Holly Arnstein (Dream) is 22.

Thought for Today: “We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.” — Marcel Proust, French author (1871-1922).