Today is Wednesday, June 4, the 156th day of 2008. There are 210 days left in the year.

Today's highlight in history:

On June 4, 1942, the Pacific Battle of Midway began during World War II; three days later, American naval forces claimed a decisive victory over the Japanese.

On this date:

In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers first publicly demonstrated their hot-air balloon, which did not carry any passengers, over Annonay, France.

In 1784, opera singer Elizabeth Thible became the first woman to fly aboard a Montgolfier hot-air balloon, over Lyon, France.

In 1878, the Ottoman Empire turned over control of Cyprus to the British.

In 1892, the Sierra Club was incorporated in San Francisco.

In 1896, Henry Ford made a successful pre-dawn test run of his horseless carriage, called a "quadricycle," through the streets of Detroit.

In 1939, the German ocean liner St. Louis, carrying more than 900 Jewish refugees from Germany, was turned away from the Florida coast by U.S. officials.

In 1940, the Allied military evacuation from Dunkirk, France, ended.

In 1954, French Premier Joseph Laniel and Vietnamese Premier Buu Loc signed treaties in Paris according "complete independence" to Vietnam.

In 1979, Joe Clark of the Progressive Conservatives became the 16th prime minister of Canada.

In 1989, Chinese army troops stormed Beijing to crush a pro-democracy movement, killing hundreds, possibly thousands, of people.

Ten years ago: A federal judge sentenced Terry Nichols to life in prison for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing. Americans aboard the shuttle Discovery arrived at the Russian space station Mir to pick up U.S. astronaut Andrew Thomas, who'd spent four months in orbit.

Five years ago: President Bush held landmark meetings with the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers, hoping to advance a Middle East peace plan after winning new support from top Arab leaders. Martha Stewart stepped down as head of her media empire, hours after federal prosecutors in New York charged her with obstruction of justice, conspiracy, securities fraud and lying to investigators. (Stewart was later convicted of lying about why she'd sold her shares of ImClone Systems stock in 2001, just before the stock price plunged.)

One year ago: President Bush left on an eight-day European trip that included a Group of Eight summit in Germany. Military judges dismissed charges against a Guantanamo detainee accused of chauffeuring Osama bin Laden and another who allegedly killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. Insurgents linked to al-Qaida issued a video in which they claimed to have killed all three U.S. soldiers captured in an ambush on May 12. (The body of Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr. has been recovered; Spc. Alex Jimenez and Pvt. Byron Fouty remain missing.) A federal indictment accused Lousiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson of receiving more than $500,000 in bribes (Jefferson has maintained his innocence).

Today's Birthdays: Actor Bruce Dern is 72. Musician Roger Ball is 64. Actress-singer Michelle Phillips is 64. Jazz musician Anthony Braxton is 63. Singer Gordon Waller (Peter and Gordon) is 63. Rock musician Danny Brown (The Fixx) is 57. Actor Parker Stevenson is 56. Actor Keith David is 52. Actress Julie Gholson is 50. Actor Eddie Velez is 50. Singer-musician El DeBarge is 47. Actress Julie White is 47. Tennis player Andrea Jaeger is 43. Actor Scott Wolf is 40. Comedian Horatio Sanz is 39. Actor Noah Wyle is 37. Rock musician Stefan Lessard (The Dave Matthews Band) is 34. Actor-comedian Russell Brand is 33. Actress Angelina Jolie is 33. Rock musician JoJo Garza (Los Lonely Boys) is 28. Rock musician Zac Farro is 18.

Thought for Today: "If America forgets where she came from, if the people lose sight of what brought them along, if she listens to the deniers and mockers, then will begin the rot and dissolution." _ Carl Sandburg, American writer (1878-1967).