Today is the 234th day of 2012 and the 63rd day of summer.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1858, Senate candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held the first of their seven debates.
In 1911, an employee stole the "Mona Lisa" from the Louvre in Paris. It was not recovered until two years later.
In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state.
In 1991, a coup by Communist hard-liners in the Soviet Union collapsed on the third day.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: William "Count" Basie (1904-1984), musician; Wilt Chamberlain (1936-1999), basketball player; Kenny Rogers (1938- ), singer; Peter Weir (1944- ), film director; Joe Strummer (1952-2002), musician; Kim Cattrall (1956- ), actress; Sergey Brin (1973- ), Google co-founder; Kelis (1979- ), singer; Usain Bolt (1986- ), Olympic sprinter.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1903, Tom Fetch and M.C. Krarup completed America's first transcontinental automobile race, traveling from New York City to San Francisco in 51 days.
TODAY'S FACT: The population of Russia is projected to shrink considerably in the coming decades, from about 142.5 million in 2012 to 129.9 million in 2050.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "I hate (indifference to slavery) because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world -- enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites." -- Abraham Lincoln, first Lincoln-Douglas debate
TODAY'S NUMBER: 6 million -- people who view Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" at the Louvre in Paris annually.
TODAY'S MOON: Between new moon (Aug. 17) and first quarter moon (Aug. 24).