Today is Thursday, June 30, the 181st day of 2011. There are 184 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On June 30, 1936, the epic Civil War novel "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell was first published by The Macmillan Co. in New York.
On this date:
In 1859, French acrobat Charles Blondin (blahn-DAN') walked back and forth on a tightrope above the gorge of Niagara Falls as thousands of spectators watched.
In 1860, the famous Oxford University Museum debate on Darwin's theory of evolution took place as Anglican Bishop Samuel Wilberforce led his side in denouncing the concept, while biologist T.H. Huxley rose to defend it.
In 1908, the Tunguska Event took place in Russia as an asteroid exploded above Siberia, leaving 800 square miles of scorched or blown-down trees.
In 1921, President Warren G. Harding nominated former President William Howard Taft to be chief justice of the United States, succeeding the late Edward Douglass White.
In 1934, Adolf Hitler carried out his "blood purge" of political and military rivals in Germany in what came to be known as "The Night of the Long Knives."
In 1958, the U.S. Senate passed the Alaska statehood bill by a vote of 64-20.
In 1961, electronics inventor Lee DeForest died in Hollywood at age 87.
In 1963, Pope Paul VI was crowned the 262nd head of the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that the government could not prevent The New York Times or the Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers. A Soviet space mission ended in tragedy when three cosmonauts aboard Soyuz 11 were found dead of asphyxiation inside their capsule after it had returned to Earth.
In 1985, 39 American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held 17 days.
Ten years ago: Doctors implanted a dual-purpose pacemaker in Vice President Dick Cheney's chest. President George W. Bush met with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (joon-ee-chee-roh koh-ee-zoo-mee) at Camp David. A NASA observatory rocketed into space on a mission to scan the universe for the faint afterglow of creation. Guitarist Chet Atkins died in Nashville at age 77. Tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson died in San Francisco at age 64.
Five years ago: A tired-sounding Osama bin Laden praised slain Iraq insurgent Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (AH'-boo MOO'-sahb ahl-zahr-KOW'-ee) in an audiotape. The government of the Netherlands resigned over a failed attempt to strip Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a prominent Somali-born critic of Islam, of her Dutch citizenship.
One year ago: President Barack Obama talked about the economy at a town hall in Racine, Wis., saying, "We got it moving again," and that he intended to get "our debt and our deficits under control," but warned he wouldn't slash spending at the expense of the economic rebound. Benigno Aquino III was sworn in as the Philippines' 15th president.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Tony Musante is 75. Actress Nancy Dussault is 75. Singer Glenn Shorrock is 67. Jazz musician Stanley Clarke is 60. Actor David Garrison is 59. Rock musician Hal Lindes (Dire Straits) is 58. Actor-comedian David Alan Grier is 55. Actor Vincent D'Onofrio is 52. Actress Deirdre Lovejoy is 49. Actor Rupert Graves is 48. Boxer Mike Tyson is 45. Rock musician Tom Drummond (Better Than Ezra) is 42. Actor Brian Bloom is 41. Actor Brian Vincent is 41. Actress Monica Potter is 40. Actor Rick Gonzalez is 32. Actress Lizzy Caplan is 29. Rhythm-and-blues singer Fantasia ("American Idol") is 27. Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps is 26.
Thought for Today: "In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism." _ Hannah Arendt, German-born American philosopher and historian (1906-1975).
(Above Advance for Use Thursday, June 30)
Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.