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August 6, 2013

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, Aug. 6, the 218th day of 2013. There are 147 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On August 6, 1945, during World War II, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, resulting in an estimated 140,000 deaths.

On this date:

In 1813, during the Venezuelan War of Independence, forces led by Simon Bolivar recaptured Caracas.

In 1825, Upper Peru became the autonomous republic of Bolivia.

In 1862, the Confederate ironclad CSS Arkansas was scuttled by its crew on the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge, La., to prevent capture by the Union.

In 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel, arriving in Kingsdown, England, from France in 14½ hours.

In 1930, New York State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Force Crater went missing after leaving a Manhattan restaurant; his disappearance remains a mystery.

In 1942, Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands became the first reigning queen to address a joint session of Congress, telling lawmakers that despite Nazi occupation, her people’s motto remained, “No surrender.”

In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov became the second man to orbit Earth as he flew aboard Vostok 2.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.

In 1978, Pope Paul VI died at Castel Gandolfo at age 80.

In 1993, Louis Freeh won Senate confirmation to be FBI director.

Ten years ago: Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger used an appearance on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” to announce his successful bid to replace California Gov. Gray Davis. The same day, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante said he was entering the recall race as well. Israel freed 334 Palestinian prisoners in a bid to jump-start peace efforts, but the gesture fell flat among Palestinians. Record-breaking heat, already blamed for three dozen deaths, continued to torment Europe.

Five years ago: The government declared that Army scientist Bruce Ivins was solely responsible for the anthrax attacks that killed five and rattled the nation in 2001. (Ivins had committed suicide on July 29.) A U.S. military jury convicted Osama bin Laden’s former driver, Salim Hamdan, of supporting terrorism in the first war crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay (however, the jury imposed a surprisingly light 5½-year sentence, making Hamdan eligible for parole in five months; the U.S. later transferred Hamdan to his home country of Yemen, which released him in January 2009.) President George W. Bush, on his Asia tour, met with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak; Bush then traveled to Thailand, where he met with Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

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