Today in History

AP News
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Posted: Jul 29, 2011 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Friday, July 29, the 210th day of 2011. There are 155 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On July 29, 1981, Britain's Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. (However, the couple divorced in 1996.)

On this date:

In 1588, the English attacked the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Gravelines, resulting in an English victory.

In 1890, artist Vincent van Gogh, 37, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

In 1914, transcontinental telephone service in the U.S. began with the first test phone conversation between New York and San Francisco.

In 1921, Adolf Hitler became leader (the "fuehrer") of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

In 1948, Britain's King George VI opened the Olympic Games in London.

In 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency was established. Jack Paar made his debut as host of NBC's "Tonight Show."

In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, creating NASA.

In 1967, an accidental rocket launch aboard the supercarrier USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin resulted in a fire and explosions that killed 134 servicemen.

In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford became the first U.S. president to visit the site of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland.

In 1985, the space shuttle Challenger began an 8-day mission that got off to a shaky start _ the spacecraft achieved a safe orbit even though one of its main engines shut down prematurely after lift-off.

Ten years ago: In a nonbinding referendum, residents of Vieques (vee-AY'-kes) voted overwhelmingly for the U.S. Navy to immediately stop bombing on the Puerto Rican island. Lance Armstrong won his third straight Tour de France, becoming the first American to do so. Former Polish communist ruler Edward Gierek died at age 88.

Five years ago: The U.S. command announced it was sending 3,700 troops to Baghdad to try to quell sectarian violence sweeping the Iraqi capital. Actor-director Mel Gibson issued a lengthy statement apologizing for his drunken-driving arrest and for what he called his "despicable" statements toward the deputies who'd arrested him in Malibu, Calif.

One year ago: Army Spc. Bradley Manning was flown from a detention facility in Kuwait to the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., to await trial on charges of giving military secrets to WikiLeaks. The House rejected a bill that would have provided up to $7.4 billion in aid to people sickened by World Trade Center dust; Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., angrily denounced Republicans who'd voted against the measure, calling it "a shame, a shame." A House panel charged New York Democrat Charles Rangel with 13 counts of ethical misdeeds (he was later censured by the full House).

Today's Birthdays: Comedian "Professor" Irwin Corey is 97. Actor Robert Horton is 87. Former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum-Baker is 79. Actor Robert Fuller is 77. Former Sen. Elizabeth H. Dole is 75. Actor David Warner is 70. Rock musician Neal Doughty (REO Speedwagon) is 65. Marilyn Tucker Quayle, wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle, is 62. Actor Mike Starr is 61. Documentary maker Ken Burns is 58. Style guru Tim Gunn (TV: "Project Runway") is 58. Rock singer-musician Geddy Lee (Rush) is 58. Rock singer Patti Scialfa (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) is 58. Actress Alexandra Paul is 48. Country singer Martina McBride is 45. Rock musician Chris Gorman is 44. Actor Rodney Allen Rippy is 43. Actor Tim Omundson is 42. Actor Wil Wheaton is 39. Rhythm-and-blues singer Wanya Morris (Boyz II Men) is 38. Country singer-songwriter James Otto is 38. Actor Stephen Dorff is 38. Actor Josh Radnor is 37. Hip-hop DJ/music producer Danger Mouse is 34. Actress Rachel Miner is 31. Actress Allison Mack is 29. Actor Matt Prokop is 21.

Thought for Today: "The idea of my life as a fairy tale is itself a fairy tale." _ Grace Kelly, American-born actress and Princess consort of Monaco (1929-1982).

(Above Advance for Use Friday, July 29)

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