Today In History

Monday, July 8

Today is Monday, July 8, the 189th day of 2013. There are 176 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1524 - Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano arrives in France to report on his discoveries in the New World, which include the New York Bay. His voyage becomes the basis for French claims of territory.

1709 - Russian forces under Peter the Great defeat Swedish forces under Charles XII at Poltava, Ukraine.

1792 - France declares war on Prussia.

1833 - Turkey and Russia sign Treaty of Hunkar Iskelesi, a defensive alliance under which Sultan agrees to close Dardanelles Straits to all but Russian warships.

1846 - Denmark's King Christian VIII declares Danish state indivisible and heritable by females.

1853 - U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry arrives in Tokyo Bay with two armed frigates to force Japan to open up to the West after more than 200 years of isolation.

1858 - British proclaim victory after a year of bitter fighting to put down the Indian Mutiny.

1885 - The Wall Street Journal is first published.

1895 - Opening of Delagoa Bay Railway gives Transvaal ?X now in South Africa ?X an outlet to the sea.

1920 - Britain annexes East African Protectorate as Kenya Colony.

1940 - Norwegian government moves to London 62 days after Nazi Germany invades that country.

1950 - U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur is named commander-in-chief of U. N. forces in Korea.

1976 - Indonesian government says 9,000 people died in earthquake in New Guinea.

1986 - Kurt Waldheim is inaugurated as Austria's president despite admitting he lied about serving in the German army during World War II.

1992 - Heavy artillery battles rage across Sarajevo as Bosnia's president Alija Izetbegovic leaves the country to seek help at an international summit.

1993 - Seven Muslim radicals are hanged in Egypt for attacking foreign tourists in their campaign to overthrow the government.

1994 - Kim Il Sung, North Korea's longtime ruler, dies.

1995 - Phanor Arizabaleta, one of the top leaders of the Cali cocaine cartel, surrenders in Bogota, Colombia. He later gets 28 years in prison.

1996 - The first Islamist-led government in Turkey's modern history narrowly wins a vote of confidence.

1997 - NATO extends membership invitations to three Eastern European countries ?X Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

1998 - The Taliban religious army in Afghanistan outlaws televisions and video cassette recorders.

1999 - Authorities shut down a reformist paper in Tehran, Iran, sparking a week of violent rioting by students and their hard-line opponents.

2000 - Pakistani police end a nine-hour standoff with the wife of deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, forcing her to drive to the family home outside the eastern Punjab capital of Lahore. The standoff began when police tried to prevent Kulsoom Sharif from launching an anti-government march.

2001- Philippine authorities arrest a leader of the Islamic extremist group Abu Sayyaf, accusing him of plotting the kidnapping of 20 people from a resort on Palawan island.

2002 - A group of about 150 women occupy the ChevronTexaco Corp. oil pipeline terminal in Escravos, Nigeria, trapping some 700 workers inside in a seven-day siege. The women demand that ChevronTexaco employ their sons and provide their villages with electricity.

2003 - Ladan and Laleh Bijani, 29-year-old Iranian twins who were joined at the head, die in Singapore after doctors in a 54-hour operation managed to separate their brains but were unable to stop blood loss.

2004 - Europe's top human rights court rejects an appeal to grant full human rights to a fetus, saying that is a matter for national governments to decide.

2005 - Leader of southern Sudanese rebels, John Garang, makes a triumphant arrival in Khartoum to singing and dancing by thousands of southerners and northerners hopeful for a new era after Africa's longest war.

2006 - Poland's governing party accepts the resignation of Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz and recommends party chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski ?X the president's identical twin ?X to replace him.

2007 - Israeli Cabinet approves the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners in a gesture of support for moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

2008 - Iraqi officials step up pressure on the United States to agree to a specific timeline to withdraw American forces.

2009 - President Barack Obama and other leaders of the world's richest industrial countries pledge to seek dramatic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to slow dangerous climate change. They agree for the first time that worldwide temperatures must not rise more than a few degrees.

2010 - The largest spy swap between the U.S. and Russia since the Cold War unfolds as 10 people accused of spying in suburban America plead guilty to conspiracy and are ordered deported to Russia in exchange for the release of four Russian spies.

2011 - Hundreds of thousands of Syrians pour into the streets of the opposition stronghold Hama, bolstered by a gesture of support from the American and French ambassadors who visited the city where a massacre nearly 30 years ago came to symbolize the ruthlessness of the Assad dynasty.

2012 - Egypt's Islamist president fires the first volley in his battle with the nation's powerful generals, calling on the Islamist-dominated parliament to reconvene despite a military court-backed ruling that dissolved it.

Today's Birthdays:

Jean de La Fontaine, French writer and fabulist (1621-1695); Count Ferdinand Zeppelin, German inventor of dirigible (1838-1917); John D. Rockefeller, U.S. financier (1839-1937); Kathe Kollwitz, German artist (1867-1945); Angelica Huston, U.S actress/director (1951--); Kevin Bacon U.S. actor (1958--); Beck, U.S. rock singer (1970--).

Thought For Today:

History must stay open, it is all humanity ?X William Carlos Williams, American author and poet (1883-1963).