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Today in history: August 12

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

Today is Friday, Aug. 12, the 224th day of 2005. There are 141 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Aug. 12, 1944, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blew up over England.

On this date:
In 1867, President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him as he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

In 1898, the peace protocol ending the Spanish-American War was signed.

In 1898, Hawaii was formally annexed to the United States.

In 1915, the novel “Of Human Bondage,” by William Somerset Maugham, was first published.

In 1953, the Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.

In 1960, the first balloon satellite — the Echo 1 — was launched by the United States from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

In 1962, one day after launching Andrian Nikolayev into orbit, the Soviet Union also sent up cosmonaut Pavel Popovich; both men landed safely Aug. 15.

In 1972, the last American combat ground troops left Vietnam.

In 1978, Pope Paul VI, who had died Aug. 6 at age 80, was buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.

In 1985, the world’s worst single-aircraft disaster occurred as a crippled Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 on a domestic flight crashed into a mountain, killing 520 people.

Ten years ago: In a methodical, daylong procession, Republican presidential candidates courted Ross Perot’s followers at a United We Stand America conference in Dallas.

Five years ago: The Russian nuclear submarine Kursk and its 118-man crew were lost during naval exercises in the Barents Sea. Evander Holyfield won a 12-round unanimous decision over John Ruiz in Las Vegas for the vacant WBA heavyweight title. Actress Loretta Young died at age 87.

One year ago: In a stunning declaration, New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey announced his resignation and acknowledged that he had had an extramarital affair with another man. The California Supreme Court voided the nearly 4,000 same-sex marriages sanctioned in San Francisco between Feb. 12 and March 11, 2004.

Today’s Birthdays: Choreographer Michael Kidd is 86. Former Sen. Dale Bumpers, D-Ark., is 80. Country singer Porter Wagoner is 78. Singer-musician Buck Owens is 76. Actor George Hamilton is 66. Actress Jennifer Warren is 64. Rock singer-musician Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) is 56. Singer Kid Creole is 55. Jazz musician Pat Metheny is 51. Actor Sam J. Jones is 51. Actor Bruce Greenwood is 49. Country singer Danny Shirley is 49. Pop musician Roy Hay (Culture Club) is 44. Rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot is 42. Actor Peter Krause is 40. Tennis player Pete Sampras is 34. Actor Michael Ian Black (“Ed”) is 34. Actress Rebecca Gayheart is 33. Actor Casey Affleck is 30. Rock musician Bill Uechi (Save Ferris) is 30. Actress Dominique Swain is 25.

Thought for Today: “Wisdom is born, stupidity is learned.” — Russian proverb.