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Today In History
Saturday, July 20
By The Associated Press
Associated Press
2013-07-20 09:01 AM

Today is Saturday, July 20, the 201st day of 2013. There are 164 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1654 - By treaty, England receives privileges for its merchants in Portugal in exchange for military aid.

1810 - Bogota rises against Spanish rule. The day is now Independence Day in Colombia.

1811 - The Rev. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a hero of independence, is executed by firing squad in Chihuahua, Mexico.

1871 - British Columbia enters Confederation as a Canadian province.

1880 - The second British invasion of Afghanistan ends; Abdur Rahman proclaims himself the new Afghan ruler.

1881 - Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull, a fugitive since the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, surrenders to U.S. federal troops.

1903 - Morocco grants France control of frontier police.

1913 - Turkey recaptures Adrianople from Bulgaria.

1922 - League of Nations Council approves mandates for Togoland, Cameroons and Tanganyika.

1923 - Revolutionary leader Francisco Villa is assassinated in Hidalgo del Parral, Mexico.

1944 - Adolf Hitler is injured by a bomb in an attache case, an assassination attempt by German officers that leads to a brutal purge.

1945 - U.S. flag is raised over Berlin as U.S. troops prepare to take part in occupation government after World War II.

1947 - Dutch troops launch new offensive in Java against Indonesian forces.

1951 - Jordan's King Abdullah is assassinated in Jerusalem by a Palestinian nationalist after Jordan annexed West Bank territory.

1958 - United Arab Republic severs relations with Jordan.

1968 - The Philippines recalls its envoys from Malaysia because of territorial dispute.

1969 - U.S. astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin take first ever walk on the moon.

1974 - Turkey invades Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

1976 - U.S. spacecraft Viking I lands on Mars after 11-month flight and begins sending back clear pictures of the planet.

1985 - Treasure hunters begin hauling off $400 million in coins and silver ingots from the wreck of the Spanish galleon, Nuestra Senora de Atocha, which sank off the coast of Key West, Florida, in 1622.

1987 - Prime Minister Anibal Cavalco Silva's center-right Social Democrats win Portugal's first parliamentary majority.

1988 - South Africa, Angola and Cuba formally accept agreement on withdrawal of foreign troops from Angola and independence for South-West Africa -- now Namibia.

1989 - Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is placed under house arrest.

1991 - Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin bans political activity in Russian government offices and republic-run businesses.

1992 - Vaclav Havel, the playwright who led the Velvet Revolution against communism, steps down as Czechoslovakia's president after failing to halt the country's disintegration.

1995 - In a step toward meeting U.N. demands, Iraq begins destroying five machines that could be used to make ballistic missile parts.

1996 - Hutu rebels attack Tutsi refugees at a camp in Burundi, killing some 320 people, mostly women and children.

1997 - Hard-line Serb supporters boot elected Bosnian Serb president Biljana Plavsic from the ruling party, accusing her of aiding NATO's hunt for war crimes suspects.

1998 - Nigeria's new military leader, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, announces plans for elections and a civilian president by May.

1999 - Israel's new prime minister, Ehud Barak, tells Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat he intends to withdraw promptly from a portion of the West Bank while pursuing an overall Middle East settlement.

2000 - U.S. President Bill Clinton stops in Okinawa, Japan, following a G-8 summit, pledging the U.S. Air Force base will be a better neighbor to the island. The American military presence has caused protests and strained relations.

2001 - German leaders honor the officers who tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler 57 years ago, laying wreaths on the anniversary of the failed attack.

2002 - A fire in a discotheque in Lima, Peru, kills 25 people and injures 100 more. The fire reportedly started when a bartender, performing a fire-eating stunt, accidentally ignited the curtains.

2003 - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas meet in Jerusalem, in their fourth bilateral meeting. The leaders discuss Palestinian demands for the release of prisoners held by Israel and for Israeli troop withdrawals from the West Bank, but Sharon insists Abbas first take action to dismantle militant groups.

2005 - Hurricane Emily slams into northeastern Mexico, knocking out power and forcing thousands to flee small fishing villages after leaving hundreds homeless and destroying luxury hotels in the Yucatan Peninsula.

2006 - Hundreds of Ethiopian troops in armored vehicles roll into Somalia to protect their allies in the country's virtually powerless government from Islamic militants who control the capital.

2007 - The Pakistani Supreme Court rules that President Pervez Musharraf had no authority to suspend Pakistan's top judge and orders Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry reinstated.

2008 - Three Germans seized by Kurdish rebels during a climbing expedition in Turkey more than a week ago are released.

2009 - A U.N. war crimes court convicts two Bosnian Serb cousins for a 1992 killing spree that included locking scores of Muslims in two houses and burning them alive.

2010 - British Prime Minister David Cameron turns aside U.S. calls for an investigation into the release of the Lockerbie bomber by Scotland and says there is no indication that oil giant BP had swayed the controversial decision.

2011 - Prime Minister David Cameron drags his political foes into Britain's phone-hacking scandal at a raucous session of Parliament, distancing himself from a former aide at the heart of the allegations and denying his staff tried to thwart police investigations.

2012 - A gunman wearing a gas mask and black SWAT gear hurls a gas canister inside a crowded movie theater in a Denver suburb during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie and then opens fire, killing 12 people and wounding nearly 60 others in an attack so bizarre that some moviegoers at first thought they were watching Hollywood special effects.

Today's Birthdays:

Francesco Petrarca, Italian poet (1304-1374); Alberto Santos-Dumont, Brazilian aviator (1872-1932); Theda Bara, U.S. silent-film actress (1885-1955); Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Hungarian artist (1895-1946); Sir Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer (1919-2008); Diana Rigg, English actress (1938--); Kim Carnes, U.S. singer (1945--); Carlos Santana, Mexican guitarist (1947--); Judy Greer, actress (1975--); Stone Gossard, U.S. musician (1966--).

Thought For Today:

Somehow a bachelor never quite gets over the idea that he is a thing of beauty and a boy forever -- Helen Rowland, American writer and humorist (1875-1950).

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