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July 8, 2013

Today in History

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

Today’s highlight in history:

On July 8, 1776, Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, outside the State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia.

On this date:

In 1663, King Charles II of England granted a Royal Charter to Rhode Island.

In 1853, an expedition led by Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Yedo Bay, Japan, on a mission to seek diplomatic and trade relations with the Japanese.

In 1889, The Wall Street Journal was first published.

In 1907, Florenz Ziegfeld staged his first “Follies,” on the roof of the New York Theater.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson received a tumultuous welcome in New York City after his return from the Versailles Peace Conference in France.

In 1947, demolition work began in New York City to make way for the new permanent headquarters of the United Nations.

In 1950, President Harry S. Truman named Gen. Douglas MacArthur commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea. (Truman ended up sacking MacArthur for insubordination nine months later.)

In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower began a visit to Canada, where he conferred with Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and addressed the Canadian Parliament.

In 1962, just after midnight local time, Alitalia Flight 771, a DC-8, crashed as it was approaching Bombay (Mumbai), India, killing all 94 people on board.

In 1972, the Nixon administration announced a deal to sell $750 million in grain to the Soviet Union. (However, the Soviets were also engaged in secretly buying subsidized American grain, resulting in what critics dubbed “The Great Grain Robbery.”)

In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford announced he would seek a second term of office.

In 1994, Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s communist leader since 1948, died at age 82.

Ten years ago: In Senegal at the start of a five-nation tour of Africa, President George W. Bush called American slavery one of history’s greatest crimes as he stood at the very spot where hundreds of thousands of Africans had been bought and sold like cargo. A factory worker opened fire at a Lockheed Martin plant in Meridian, Miss., leaving five dead before committing suicide. Twenty-nine-year-old Iranian twins joined at the head died following surgery in Singapore to separate them. A triple-deck ferry capsized in Bangladesh; more than 500 people drowned. A Sudanese Boeing 737 crashed on the northeastern Red Sea coast, killing 117 people.

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