Today in History

Today is Wednesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2015. There are 155 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On July 29, 1890, artist Vincent van Gogh, 37, died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

On this date:

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

In 1900, Italian King Humbert I was assassinated by an anarchist; he was succeeded by his son, Victor Emmanuel III.

In 1914, transcontinental telephone service in the U.S. became operational with the first test conversation between New York and San Francisco. Massachusetts' Cape Cod Canal, offering a shortcut across the base of the peninsula, was officially opened to shipping traffic.

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

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

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

In 1965, The Beatles' second feature film, "Help!," had its world premiere in London.

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

In 1985, 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.

In 1994, abortion opponent Paul Hill shot and killed Dr. John Bayard Britton and Britton's bodyguard, James H. Barrett, outside the Ladies Center clinic in Pensacola, Florida. (Hill was executed in September 2003.)

In 2004, Sen. John Kerry accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the party's convention in Boston with a military salute and the declaration: "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty."

Ten years ago: The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a U.S.-sponsored resolution expanding U.N. sanctions against al-Qaida terrorists and Afghanistan's former Taliban rulers to affiliates and splinter groups. Cabaret singer Hildegarde, whose career spanned almost seven decades, died in New York at age 99.

Five years ago: Army Spc. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning was flown from a detention facility in Kuwait to the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia, 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).

One year ago: Spurred to action by the downing of a Malaysian airliner over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, the European Union approved dramatically tougher economic sanctions against Russia, including an arms embargo and restrictions on state-owned banks; President Barack Obama swiftly followed with an expansion of U.S. penalties targeting key sectors of the Russian economy. Mississippi's effort to close its last abortion clinic was blocked by a federal appeals court.

Today's Birthdays: Comedian "Professor" Irwin Corey is 101. Actor Robert Horton is 91. Former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum-Baker is 83. Actor Robert Fuller is 82. Former Sen. Elizabeth H. Dole is 79. Actor David Warner is 74. Actress Roz Kelly is 73. Rock musician Neal Doughty (REO Speedwagon) is 69. Marilyn Tucker Quayle, wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle, is 66. Actor Mike Starr is 65. Documentary maker Ken Burns is 62. Style guru Tim Gunn (TV: "Project Runway") is 62. Rock singer-musician Geddy Lee (Rush) is 62. Rock singer Patti Scialfa (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) is 62. Olympic gold medal gymnast Nellie Kim is 58. Actor Kevin Chapman is 53. Actress Alexandra Paul is 52. Country singer Martina McBride is 49. Rock musician Chris Gorman is 48. Actor Rodney Allen Rippy is 47. Actor Tim Omundson is 46. Actor Ato Essandoh is 43. Actor Wil Wheaton is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Wanya Morris (Boyz II Men) is 42. Country singer-songwriter James Otto is 42. Actor Stephen Dorff is 42. Actor Josh Radnor is 41. Hip-hop DJ/music producer Danger Mouse is 38. Actress Rachel Miner is 35. Actress Allison Mack is 33. Actress Kaitlyn Black (TV: "Hart of Dixie") is 32. Actor Matt Prokop is 25.

Thought for Today: "Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together." — Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890).

(Above Advance for Use Wednesday, July 29)

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