Today is Sunday, Aug. 31, the 244th day of 2008. There are 122 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Aug. 31, 1886, an earthquake rocked Charleston, S.C., killing 60 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

On this date:

In 1888, Mary Ann Nichols, the apparent first victim of "Jack the Ripper," was found slain in London's East End.

In 1908, American author and playwright William Saroyan was born in Fresno, Calif.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act prohibiting the export of U.S. arms to belligerents.

In 1941, the radio program "The Great Gildersleeve" debuted on NBC.

In 1954, Hurricane Carol hit the northeastern Atlantic states. Connecticut, Rhode Island and part of Massachusetts bore the brunt of the storm, which resulted in nearly 70 deaths.

In 1962, the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago became independent of British colonial rule.

In 1980, Poland's Solidarity labor movement was born with an agreement signed in Gdansk that ended a 17-day-old strike.

In 1986, 82 people were killed when an Aeromexico jetliner and a small private plane collided over Cerritos, Calif.

In 1986, the Soviet passenger ship Admiral Nakhimov collided with a merchant vessel in the Black Sea, causing both vessels to sink; up to 448 people reportedly died.

In 1988, 14 people were killed when a Delta Boeing 727 crashed during takeoff from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

Ten years ago: President Clinton left for a summit in Russia, which was in a state of political chaos over lawmakers' rejection of Boris Yeltsin's candidate for prime minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin. The New York Stock Exchange plunged amid news of the Russian crisis as well as North Korea's apparent firing of a missile over part of Japan.

Five years ago: Vowing revenge and beating their chests, more than 300,000 Shiites marched behind the rose-strewn coffin of a beloved cleric, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, who had been assassinated in a car bombing in Najaf, Iraq.

One year ago: President Bush met privately at the Pentagon with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who conveyed their concern about a growing strain on troops and their families from long and repeated combat tours in Iraq. President Bush announced a set of modest proposals to deal with an alarming rise in mortgage defaults. Mike Nifong, the disgraced former district attorney of Durham County, N.C., was sentenced to a day in jail after being held in criminal contempt of court for lying to a judge when pursuing rape charges against three falsely accused Duke University lacrosse players.

Today's Birthdays: Broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr is 92. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Frank Robinson is 73. Actor Warren Berlinger is 71. Rock musician Jerry Allison (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 69. Actor Jack Thompson is 68. Violinist Itzhak Perlman is 63. Singer Van Morrison is 63. Rock musician Rudolf Schenker (The Scorpions) is 60. Actor Richard Gere is 59. Rock singer Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze) is 51. Rock musician Gina Schock (The Go-Go's) is 51. Singer Tony DeFranco (The DeFranco Family) is 49. Rhythm-and-blues musician Larry Waddell (Mint Condition) is 45. Actor Jaime P. Gomez is 43. Rock musician Jeff Russo (Tonic) is 39. Singer-composer Deborah Gibson is 38. Rock musician Greg Richling (Wallflowers) is 38. Actor Zack Ward is 38. Actor Chris Tucker is 36. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamara (Trina & Tamara) is 31.

Thought for Today: "Every man in the world is better than someone else and not as good someone else." _ William Saroyan, American author (1908-1981).

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