Today is Wednesday, July 31, the 212th day of 2013. There are 153 days left in the year.
Today’s highlight in history:
On July 31, 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the American Continental Army.
On this date:
In 1875, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, died in Carter County, Tenn., at age 66.
In 1919, Germany’s Weimar Constitution was adopted by the republic’s National Assembly.
In 1930, the radio character “The Shadow” made his debut as narrator of the “Detective Story Hour” on CBS Radio.
In 1942, Oxfam International had its beginnings as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief when it was founded in England.
In 1971, Apollo 15 crew members David Scott and James Irwin became the first astronauts to use a lunar rover on the surface of the moon.
In 1973, Delta Air Lines Flight 723, a DC-9, crashed while trying to land at Boston’s Logan International Airport, killing all 89 people on board.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Moscow.
Ten years ago: The Vatican launched a global campaign against gay marriages, warning Catholic politicians that support of same-sex unions was “gravely immoral” and urging non-Catholics to join the offensive.
Five years ago: Three teenagers were shot to death when a gunman opened fire on a group of young people who’d gathered to go swimming in the Menominee River near Niagara, Wis. (The gunman, Scott J. Johnson, was later sentenced to life in prison without parole.)
One year ago: Three Indian electric grids collapsed in a cascade, cutting power to 620 million people in the world’s biggest blackout. At the London games, the team of Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber won the first U.S. Olympic team title in women’s gymnastics since 1996. Michael Phelps broke the Olympic medals record with his 19th as the United States romped to a dominating win in the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay.