Today is Sunday, Aug. 19, the 232nd day of 2012. There are 134 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Aug. 19, 1812, the USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off Nova Scotia during the War of 1812, earning the nickname "Old Ironsides."
On this date:
In 1807, Robert Fulton's North River Steamboat arrived in Albany, two days after leaving New York.
In 1848, the New York Herald reported the discovery of gold in California.
In 1909, the first automobile races were run at the just-opened Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.
In 1936, the first of a series of show trials orchestrated by Soviet leader Josef Stalin began in Moscow as 16 defendants faced charges of conspiring against the government (all were convicted and executed).
In 1942, during World War II, about 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France, suffering more than 50 percent casualties.
In 1951, the owner of the St. Louis Browns, Bill Veeck, sent in 3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel to pinch-hit in a game against Detroit. (In his only major league at-bat, Gaedel walked on four pitches and was replaced at first base by a pinch-runner.)
In 1960, a tribunal in Moscow convicted American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage. (Although sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment, Powers was returned to the United States in 1962 as part of a prisoner exchange.)
In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford won the Republican presidential nomination at the party's convention in Kansas City.
In 1980, 301 people aboard a Saudi Arabian L-1011 died as the jetliner made a fiery emergency return to the Riyadh airport.
In 1982, Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the second woman to be launched into space.
In 1991, Soviet hard-liners made the stunning announcement that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had been removed from power. (The coup attempt collapsed two days later.)
Ten years ago: A Russian military helicopter crashed after being shot down by rebels in Chechnya, killing 127 people. An ailing and aging John Paul II bid a tearful farewell as he concluded a four-day visit to the Krakow region of Poland (it turned out to be his last visit to his homeland).
Five years ago: Hurricane Dean, which had already killed eight people on its destructive march across the Caribbean, pummeled Jamaica with gusting winds and torrential rains as a Category 4 storm. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner paid an unannounced and highly symbolic visit to Baghdad -- the first by a senior French official since the war started. Elvira Arellano, an illegal immigrant who'd taken refuge in a Chicago church to avoid being separated from her U.S.-born son, was deported to Mexico.
One year ago: Three men -- Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley -- who'd spent nearly two decades in prison for the nightmarish slayings of three Cub Scouts in Arkansas, went free after being permitted to plead guilty to murder in exchange for time served. (The so-called West Memphis Three continue to maintain their innocence.) Kentucky beat Pennsylvania 1-0 to win the Little League World Series at South Williamsport, Pa. Danell Leyva beat two-time defending champion Jonathan Horton for his first title at the U.S. gymnastics championships in St. Paul, Minn.
Today's Birthdays: Actor L.Q. Jones is 85. Actress Debra Paget is 79. USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Famer Renee Richards is 78. Former MLB All-Star Bobby Richardson is 77. Actress Diana Muldaur is 74. Rock musician Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith) is 73. Singer Johnny Nash is 72. Actress Jill St. John is 72. Actor and former U.S. senator Fred Thompson is 70. Singer Billy J. Kramer is 69. Country singer-songwriter Eddy Raven is 68. Rock singer Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) is 67. Former President Bill Clinton is 66. Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore, is 64. Actor Jim Carter is 64. Actor Gerald McRaney is 64. Rock musician John Deacon (Queen) is 61. Actor-director Jonathan Frakes is 60. Political consultant Mary Matalin is 59. Actor Peter Gallagher is 57. Actor Adam Arkin is 56. Singer-songwriter Gary Chapman is 55. Actor Martin Donovan is 55. Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Anthony Munoz is 54. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ivan Neville is 53. Actor Eric Lutes is 50. Actor John Stamos is 49. Actress Kyra Sedgwick is 47. Actor Kevin Dillon is 47. Country singer Lee Ann Womack is 46. TV reporter Tabitha Soren is 45. Country singer-songwriter Mark McGuinn is 44. Actor Matthew Perry is 43. Country singer Clay Walker is 43. Rapper Fat Joe is 42. Olympic gold medal tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez is 41. Actress Tracie Thoms is 37. Country singer Rissi Palmer is 31. Actress Erika Christensen is 30. Pop singer Missy Higgins is 29. Country singer Karli Osborn is 28. Olympic silver medal snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis is 27. Actor J. Evan Bonifant is 27. Rapper Romeo is 23.
Thought for Today: "Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard H. Aiken, American computer pioneer (1900-1973).
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.