Today is Friday, July 8, the 189th day of 2011. There are 176 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On July 8, 1776, Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, in Philadelphia.
On this date:
In 1663, King Charles II of England granted a Royal Charter to Rhode Island.
In 1853, an expedition led by Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Yedo Bay, Japan, on a mission to seek diplomatic and trade relations with the Japanese.
In 1889, The Wall Street Journal was first published.
In 1907, Florenz Ziegfeld staged his first "Follies," on the roof of the New York Theater.
In 1911, cowgirl "Two-Gun Nan" Aspinwall became the first woman to make a solo trip by horse across the United States, arriving in New York 10 months after departing San Francisco.
In 1947, demolition work began in New York City to make way for the new permanent headquarters of the United Nations.
In 1950, President Harry S. Truman named Gen. Douglas MacArthur commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea. (But Truman ended up sacking MacArthur for insubordination nine months later.)
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford announced he would seek a second term of office.
In 1991, actor James Franciscus died in North Hollywood at age 57.
In 1994, Kim Il Sung, North Korea's communist leader since 1948, died at age 82.
Ten years ago: Cable operator Comcast mounted a hostile bid to merge with AT&T Broadband. (Although AT&T spurned that offer, the company's board ultimately agreed to merge the cable unit with Comcast.) Venus Williams won her second consecutive Wimbledon title by beating Belgian Justine Henin 6-1, 3-6, 6-0.
Five years ago: Four more U.S. soldiers were charged with rape and murder and a fifth with dereliction of duty in the rape-slaying of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killings of her relatives in Mahmoudiya. (The soldiers received sentences ranging from five years to 110 years based on their acknowledged roles in the attack.) Discovery astronauts Piers Sellers and Michael Fossum went on a 7-1/2-hour spacewalk to test a repair technique for space shuttles. Amelie Mauresmo beat Justine Henin-Hardenne, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 at Wimbledon to win her second Grand Slam championship. Actress June Allyson died in Ojai, Calif., at age 88.
One year ago: The largest spy swap between the U.S. and Russia since the Cold War unfolded as 10 people accused of spying in suburban America pleaded guilty to conspiracy and were ordered deported to Russia in exchange for the release of four prisoners accused of spying for the West. Violent protests erupted in Oakland, Calif., after a Los Angeles jury convicted a white former transit officer, Johannes Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter (instead of murder) in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Oscar Grant. During an ESPN prime-time special, basketball free agent LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. A world record tennis crowd in Brussels watched Kim Clijsters beat Wimbledon champion Serena Williams 6-3, 6-2 in an exhibition umpired by Martina Navratilova.
Today's Birthdays: Singer Jerry Vale is 79. Singer Steve Lawrence is 76. Actor Jeffrey Tambor is 67. Ballerina Cynthia Gregory is 65. Actress Kim Darby is 64. Children's performer Raffi is 63. Actress Anjelica Huston is 60. Writer Anna Quindlen is 59. Actor Kevin Bacon is 53. Actor Robert Knepper is 52. Rock musician Andy Fletcher (Depeche Mode) is 50. Country singer Toby Keith is 50. Rock musician Graham Jones (Haircut 100) is 50. Rock singer Joan Osborne is 49. Writer-producer Rob Burnett is 49. Actor Rocky Carroll is 48. Actor Corey Parker is 46. Actor Billy Crudup is 43. Actor Michael Weatherly is 43. Singer Beck is 41. Country singer Drew Womack (Sons of the Desert) is 41. Christian rock musician Stephen Mason (Jars of Clay) is 36. Actor Milo Ventimiglia is 34. Rock musician Tavis Werts is 34. Singer Ben Jelen (YEL'-in) is 32. Actor Lance Gross is 30. Actress Sophia Bush is 29. Rock musician Jamie Cook (Arctic Monkeys) is 26. Actor Jake McDorman is 25. Actor Jaden Smith is 13.
Thought for Today: "History must stay open, it is all humanity." -- William Carlos Williams, American author and poet (1883-1963).
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)