Today in History

Today is Thursday, Aug. 11, the 223rd day of 2011. There are 142 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 11, 1934, the first federal prisoners arrived at Alcatraz Island (a former military prison) in San Francisco Bay.

On this date:

In 1810, a major earthquake shook the island of St. Michael in the Azores.

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 1949, President Harry S. Truman nominated General Omar N. Bradley to become the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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 1962, the Soviet Union launched cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev on a 94-hour flight.

In 1965, rioting and looting that claimed 34 lives broke out in the predominantly black Watts section of Los Angeles.

In 1975, the United States vetoed the proposed admission of North and South Vietnam to the United Nations, following the Security Council’s refusal to consider South Korea’s application.

In 1991, Shiite (SHEE’-eyet) Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon released two Western captives: Edward Tracy, an American held nearly five years, and Jerome Leyraud, a Frenchman who’d been abducted by a rival group three days earlier.

Ten years ago: In his weekly radio address, President George W. Bush said his decision to restrict but not forbid federal financing of embryonic stem cell research placed him at the crossroads between protecting and enhancing human life.

Five years ago: The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah. BP PLC announced it would keep one side of the Prudhoe Bay oil field open as it replaced corroded pipes, averting a larger crimp in the nation’s oil supply. TV talk show host Mike Douglas died in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on his 81st birthday.

One year ago: In Baton Rouge, La., police and FBI agents captured Michael Francis Mara, suspected of being the so-called “Granddad Bandit” who’d held up two dozen banks in 13 states for about two years. (Mara later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.) Dan Rostenkowski, a former Illinois congressman who’d wielded enormous power on Capitol Hill for more than 30 years, died at his Wisconsin summer home at age 82.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Arlene Dahl is 83. Songwriter-producer Kenny Gamble is 68. Rock musician Jim Kale (Guess Who) is 68. Country singer John Conlee is 65. Singer Eric Carmen is 62. Computer scientist and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is 61. Wrestler-actor Hulk Hogan is 58. Singer Joe Jackson is 57. Playwright David Henry Hwang is 54. Actor Miguel A. Nunez Jr. is 47. Actress Viola Davis is 46. Actor Duane Martin is 46. Actor-host Joe Rogan is 44. Rhythm-and-blues musician Chris Dave is 43. Actress Anna Gunn is 43. Actress Ashley Jensen is 43. Rock guitarist Charlie Sexton is 43. Hip-hop artist Ali Shaheed Muhammad is 41. Actor Will Friedle is 35. Rapper Chris Kelly (Kris Kross) is 33. Actor Chris Hemsworth is 28. Singer J-Boog is 26. Rapper Asher Roth is 26. Actress Alyson Stoner is 18.

Thought for Today: “Journalism is literature in a hurry.” ? British poet (1822-1888).

(Above Advance for Use Thursday, Aug. 11)

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.