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Today in history: August 3

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

Today is Wednesday, Aug. 3, the 215th day of 2005. There are 150 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Aug. 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, on a voyage that took him to the present-day Americas.

On this date:
In 1914, Germany declared war on France.

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 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.

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 United States.

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

In 1993, the Senate voted 96-3 to confirm Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In 1994, Stephen G. Breyer was sworn in as the Supreme Court’s newest justice in a private ceremony at Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s Vermont summer home.

Ten years ago: A Palestinian, Eyad Ismoil, was flown to the United States from Jordan to face charges he’d driven a bomb-laden van into New York’s World Trade Center. (The 1993 explosion killed six people and injured more than 1,000; Ismoil is serving a life sentence.)

Five years ago: George W. Bush accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Philadelphia, presenting himself as an outsider who would return “civility and respect” to Washington politics.

One year ago: Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge defended the decision to tighten security in New York and Washington even though the intelligence behind the latest terror warnings was as much as four years old. The Statue of Liberty pedestal in New York City reopened to the public for the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks. French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson died at age 95.

Today’s Birthdays: Author P.D. James is 85. Broadway composer Richard Adler is 84. Singer Gordon Stoker (The Jordanaires) is 81. Singer Tony Bennett is 79. Actor Martin Sheen is 65. Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is 64. Singer Beverly Lee (The Shirelles) is 64. Movie director John Landis is 55. Actress JoMarie Payton is 55. Actor Jay North (“Dennis the Menace”) is 54. Actor John C. McGinley is 46. Rock singer-musician Lee Rocker (The Stray Cats) is 44. Rock singer James Hetfield (Metallica) is 42. Rock singer-musician Ed Roland (Collective Soul) is 42. Actor Isaiah Washington is 42. Country musician Dean Sams (Lonestar) is 39. Hip-hop artist Spin (Salt-N-Pepa) is 34. Actress Brigid Conley Walsh is 33. Singer Holly Arnstein (Dream) is 20.

Thought for Today: “The man who has no inner life is the slave of his surroundings.” — Henri Frederic Amiel, Swiss critic (1821-1881).