Today in History

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, July 18, the 199th day of 2017. There are 166 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On July 18, 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed a Presidential Succession Act which placed the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore next in the line of succession after the vice president.

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In A.D. 64, the Great Fire of Rome began, consuming most of the city for about a week. (Some blamed the fire on Emperor Nero, who in turn blamed Christians.)

In 1536, the English Parliament passed an act declaring the authority of the pope void in England.

In 1792, American naval hero John Paul Jones died in Paris at age 45.

In 1817, English novelist Jane Austen died in Winchester at age 41.

In 1927, Ty Cobb hit safely for the 4,000th time in his career during a game between the Philadelphia Athletics (his new team) and the Detroit Tigers (his old one) at Navin Field. (The Tigers won, 5-3.)

In 1932, the United States and Canada signed a treaty to develop the St. Lawrence Seaway.

In 1944, Hideki Tojo was removed as Japanese premier and war minister because of setbacks suffered by his country in World War II. American forces in France captured the Normandy town of St. Lo.

In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden and French Premier Edgar Faure held a summit in Geneva.

In 1969, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., left a party on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha's Vineyard with Mary Jo Kopechne (koh-PEHK'-nee), 28; some time later, Kennedy's car went off a bridge into the water. Kennedy was able to escape, but Kopechne drowned.

In 1976, 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, competing at the Montreal Olympics, received the first-ever perfect score of 10 with her routine on uneven parallel bars. (Comaneci would go on to receive six more 10s in Montreal.)

In 1984, gunman James Huberty opened fire at a McDonald's fast food restaurant in San Ysidro (ee-SEE'-droh), California, killing 21 people before being shot dead by police. Walter F. Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in San Francisco.

In 1994, a bomb hidden in a van destroyed a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 85. Tutsi rebels declared an end to Rwanda's 14-week-old civil war.

Ten years ago: Senate Republicans torpedoed legislation to force the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq. An underground steam pipe exploded on a New York City street, swallowing a tow truck and claiming the life of a woman who suffered a heart attack. Armed men kidnapped two Germans and five Afghans working on a dam project in central Afghanistan. (One of the Germans, Ruediger Diedrich, was found shot dead three days later; the others were later released.) Opera tenor Jerry Hadley, 55, died at a hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York, a week after shooting himself with an air rifle.

Five years ago: Rebels penetrated the heart of Syria's power elite, detonating a bomb inside a high-level crisis meeting in Damascus that killed three leaders of the regime, including President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law and the defense minister. A bus bombing at the Burgas airport in Bulgaria killed five Israeli tourists, the bus driver and the suspected perpetrator.

One year ago: Republicans opened their national convention in Cleveland as they prepared to nominate Donald Trump for president; Trump's wife, Melania, delivered a speech in which she assured delegates and voters that her husband had the character and determination to unite a divided nation. (Mrs. Trump's well-received address was marred by two passages with similarities to a speech first lady Michelle Obama delivered at the 2008 Democratic convention; a speechwriter accepted responsibility for the passages in question.) President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to retired Lt. Col. Charles Kettles, a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War credited with helping rescue more than 40 American soldiers under heavy fire. A 17-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker wounded five people with an ax before being killed by police near the German city of Wuerzburg in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Today's Birthdays: Skating champion and commentator Dick Button is 88. Olympic gold medal figure skater Tenley Albright is 82. Movie director Paul Verhoeven is 79. Musician Brian Auger is 78. Singer Dion DiMucci is 78. Actor James Brolin is 77. Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre is 77. Singer Martha Reeves is 76. Pop-rock musician Wally Bryson (The Raspberries) is 68. Country-rock singer Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League) is 68. Business mogul Richard Branson is 67. Actress Margo Martindale is 66. Singer Ricky Skaggs is 63. Actress Audrey Landers is 61. World Golf Hall of Famer Nick Faldo is 60. Rock musician Nigel Twist (The Alarm) is 59. Actress Anne-Marie Johnson is 57. Actress Elizabeth McGovern is 56. Rock musician John Hermann (Widespread Panic) is 55. Rock musician Jack Irons is 55. Talk show host-actress Wendy Williams is 53. Actor Vin Diesel is 50. Actor Grant Bowler is 49. Retired NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway is 46. Bluegrass musician Jesse Brock (The Gibson Brothers) is 45. Alt-country singer Elizabeth Cook is 45. Actor Eddie Matos is 45. MLB All-Star Torii Hunter is 42. Dance music singer-songwriter M.I.A. is 42. Rock musician Daron Malakian (System of a Down; Scars on Broadway) is 42. Rock musician Tony Fagenson (Eve 6) is 39. Movie director Jared Hess is 38. Actor Jason Weaver is 38. Actress Kristen Bell is 37. Actor Michiel Huisman (MIHK'-heel HOWS'-man) is 36. Rock singer Ryan Cabrera is 35. Actress Priyanka Chopra is 35. Christian-rock musician Aaron Gillespie (Underoath) is 34. Actor Chace Crawford is 32. Actor James Norton is 32. Musician Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) is 31. Actor Travis Milne is 31. Bluegrass musician Joe Dean Jr. (Dailey & Vincent) is 28.

Thought for Today: "It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do." From "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen (1775-1817).