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June 30, 2013

Today in History

Today is Sunday, June 30, the 181st day of 2013. There are 184 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On June 30, 1953, the first Chevrolet Corvette, with its innovative fiberglass body, was built at a General Motors assembly facility in Flint, Mich.

On this date:

In 1859, French acrobat Charles Blondin walked back and forth on a tightrope above the gorge of Niagara Falls as thousands of spectators watched.

In 1886, Arturo Toscanini, a 19-year-old cellist, made his legendary conducting debut as he stepped in as a last-minute substitute to lead the orchestra of an Italian touring company's performance of the Verdi opera "Aida" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In 1908, the Tunguska Event took place in Russia as an asteroid exploded above Siberia, leaving 800 square miles of scorched or blown-down trees.

In 1912, Canada's deadliest tornado on record occurred as a cyclone struck Regina, the provincial capital of Saskatchewan, killing 28 people.

In 1921, President Warren G. Harding nominated former President William Howard Taft to be chief justice of the United States, succeeding the late Edward Douglass White.

In 1933, the Screen Actors Guild was established.

In 1934, Adolf Hitler carried out his "blood purge" of political and military rivals in Germany in what came to be known as "The Night of the Long Knives."

In 1958, the U.S. Senate passed the Alaska statehood bill by a vote of 64-20.

In 1963, Pope Paul VI was crowned the 262nd head of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1972, for the first time, a leap-second was added to Coordinated Universal Time to account for the slowing rotation of the Earth.

In 1985, 39 American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held 17 days.

In 1993, actor George "Spanky" McFarland of "Our Gang" and "Little Rascals" fame died in Grapevine, Texas, at age 64.

Ten years ago: Israeli and Palestinian commanders shook hands as bulldozers dismantled checkpoints and Palestinian traffic flowed freely in the Gaza Strip. Comedian-actor Buddy Hackett died in Malibu, Calif., at age 78.

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