Today is Saturday, Aug. 11, the 224th day of 2012. There are 142 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Aug. 11, 1962, Andrian Nikolayev became the Soviet Union's third cosmonaut to fly in space as he was launched on a 94-hour flight.
On this date:
In 3114 B.C., the current cycle of the Mayan "Long Count" calendar began. (By some estimates, the cycle will end, and a new one will begin, on Dec. 21 of this year.)
In 1786, Capt. Francis Light arrived in Penang to claim the Malaysian island for Britain.
In 1860, the nation's first successful silver mill began operation near Virginia City, Nev.
In 1909, the steamship SS Arapahoe became the first ship in North America to issue an S.O.S. distress signal, off North Carolina's Cape Hatteras.
In 1934, the first federal prisoners arrived at Alcatraz Island (a former military prison) in San Francisco Bay.
In 1942, during World War II, Pierre Laval, prime minister of Vichy France, publicly declared that "the hour of liberation for France is the hour when Germany wins the war."
In 1952, Hussein bin Talal was proclaimed King of Jordan, beginning a reign lasting nearly 47 years.
In 1954, a formal peace took hold in Indochina, ending more than seven years of fighting between the French and Communist Viet Minh.
In 1965, rioting and looting that claimed 34 lives broke out in the predominantly black Watts section of Los Angeles.
In 1984, during a voice test for a paid political radio address, President Ronald Reagan joked that he had "signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."
In 1992, the Mall of America opened in Bloomington, Minn.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton made the first use of the historic line-item veto, rejecting three items in spending and tax bills. (However, the U.S. Supreme Court later struck down the veto as unconstitutional.)
Ten years ago: Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, a bioweapons expert under scrutiny for anthrax-laced letters, fiercely denied any involvement and said he had cooperated with the investigation. (Hatfill was never charged, and the Justice Department ended up agreeing to pay $5.8 million to settle a lawsuit Hatfill had brought against the government for wrongly implicating him.) US Airways filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (US Airways emerged from bankruptcy in 2003, but returned to it in 2004 before re-emerging in 2005.) Karrie Webb won her third Women's British Open title.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush welcomed French President Nicolas Sarkozy to his family's estate in Kennebunkport, Maine. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won an easy and expected victory in a high-profile Iowa Republican Party Straw Poll. Funerals were held in Newark, N.J., for three college or college-bound students shot to death in a schoolyard. Big Ben's bongs fell silent as workers began a month of maintenance work on the iconic London clock and its world-famous bell.
One year ago: Minnesota rivals Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann sparred bitterly during an eight-candidate Republican debate in Ames, Iowa; Mitt Romney sought to stay above the fray as he focused on President Barack Obama, saying, "Our president simply doesn't understand how to lead and how to grow the economy."
Today's Birthdays: Actress Arlene Dahl is 84. Songwriter-producer Kenny Gamble is 69. Rock musician Jim Kale (Guess Who) is 69. Magazine columnist Marilyn Vos Savant is 66. Country singer John Conlee is 66. Singer Eric Carmen is 63. Computer scientist and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is 62. Wrestler-actor Hulk Hogan is 59. Singer Joe Jackson is 58. Playwright David Henry Hwang is 55. Actor Miguel A. Nunez Jr. is 48. Actress Viola Davis is 47. Actor Duane Martin is 47. Actor-host Joe Rogan is 45. Rhythm-and-blues musician Chris Dave is 44. Actress Anna Gunn is 44. Actress Ashley Jensen is 44. Rock guitarist Charlie Sexton is 44. Hip-hop artist Ali Shaheed Muhammad is 42. Actor Will Friedle is 36. Rapper Chris Kelly (Kris Kross) is 34. Actress Merritt Wever (TV: "Nurse Jackie") is 32. Actor Chris Hemsworth is 29. Rock musician Heath Fogg (Alabama Shakes) is 28. Singer J-Boog is 27. Rapper Asher Roth is 27. Actress Alyson Stoner is 19.
Thought for Today: "Don't wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects." — Roger Zelazny, American science-fiction writer (1937-1995).
(Above Advance for Use Saturday, Aug. 11)
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.