Friday, July 26

Today is Friday, July 26, the 207th day of 2013. There are 158 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1821 – Turkey and Russia sever relations after Turkey refuses to protect Christian subjects.

1847 – Liberia becomes the first African colony to declare its independence.

1891 – France annexes South Sea island of Tahiti.

1908 – The Federal Bureau of Investigation — the FBI — is established in the United States.

1926 – Philippines legislature calls for plebiscite on independence but it is vetoed by U.S. governor-general.

1942 – British Royal Air Force stages heavy raid on Hamburg, Germany.

1945 – Britain, United States and China demand Japan’s unconditional surrender as terms for peace in World War II; Winston Churchill resigns as Britain’s prime minister after his Conservatives are defeated by the Labor Party.

1947 – The U.S. Department of Defense is established under the Armed Forces Unification Act.

1952 – Eva Peron, popular leader and wife of Argentine President Juan Peron, dies of cancer at age 33; Egypt’s King Farouk abdicates in favor of his infant son after a military coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser.

1953 – Fidel Castro leads an attack on army barracks in Santiago, Cuba, in the hope of sparking a popular uprising. Most of the 160 revolutionaries are killed and Castro is captured but later receives an amnesty.

1956 – Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes Suez Canal, and Britain, France and United States announce financial retaliation.

1968 – Twenty guerrillas attack the U.S. air base at Udorn, Thailand, from which U.S. jets flew bombing missions against North Vietnam. It was the first raid on an American base in Thailand.

1974 – Konstantinos Karamanlis, new Greek premier, forms civilian Cabinet after seven years of military rule in Greece.

1984 – Liberian President Samuel K. Doe lifts four-year ban on political activity as part of a plan to restore constitutional rule with general elections at the end of following year.

1990 – Iraq agrees to pull thousands of troops back from Kuwaiti border after Kuwait agrees to cut oil production.

1991 – Communist leaders overwhelmingly approve Mikhail Gorbachev’s new party platform, abandoning decades of Marxist dogma.

1992 – Iraqi President Saddam Hussein ends a three-week standoff and allows U.N. inspectors to search the Agriculture Ministry in Baghdad for chemical weapons.

1994 – Israel warns of a new wave of terrorism by Islamic extremists after a car bomb wrecks part of its London embassy, injuring 14 people.

1997 – K.R. Narayanan takes the oath of India’s presidency, the first member of the class once known as “untouchables” to do so.

1998 – Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party wins a majority in Cambodia elections a year after he ousted his rival Prince Norodom Ranariddh in a bloody coup.

1999 – In New York, the 30th anniversary of the legendary Woodstock musical festival ends violently with fires, looting and vandalism.

2000 – The European Union proposes a ban on the import of “conflict diamonds” from Sierra Leone. The proposal matches a similar resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council.

2001 – Indonesia’s ousted President Abdurrahman Wahid vacates the palace and leaves the country, ending a standoff and clearing the way for his successor, Megawati Sukarnoputri.

2002 – A court in Jakarta, Indonesia, convicts Hutomo Mandala Putra, son of former President Suharto, of hiring the assassins who murdered the Supreme Court justice who convicted Putra of fraud.

2003 – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issues an advisory to airlines and law-enforcement agencies about the possibility that al-Qaeda would attempt more suicide hijackings of commercial airliners sometime late in the summer in Europe, Australia or the United States.

2004 – The European Union joins the United States in pushing for “imminent” U.N. sanctions against Sudan if it does not end the conflict in its western Darfur region. Sudan criticizes the move, saying it would just make things worse.

2005 -Judges in Amsterdam hand down a rare maximum sentence of life with no possibility of parole for the Dutch-born Muslim who confessed to — and expressed no regret for — shooting, stabbing and nearly decapitating filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

2006 – Israeli aircraft and artillery fire at Palestinian militants in Gaza, killing 18 Palestinians, including at least three little girls, as Israel presses ahead with its offensive alongside fighting in Lebanon.

2007 – Four rare mountain gorillas, including an alpha-male silverback, are shot dead at Congo’s Virunga National Park by an unknown gunman. Only an estimated 700 mountain gorillas remain. None exist in captivity.

2008 – At least 29 people were killed and 88 wounded when a series of small explosions hit the western Indian city of Ahmadabad.

2009 – In a drive to inoculate people against swine flu before winter, many European governments say they will fast-track the testing of a vaccine, arousing concern among some experts about safety and proper doses.

2010 – A U.N.-backed tribunal sentences the Khmer Rouge’s chief jailer to 35 years for overseeing the deaths of up to 16,000 people — the first verdict involving a senior member of the “killing fields” regime that devastated a generation of Cambodians.

2011 – Kosovo’s prime minister defends an order for his special police to take control of two contested border crossings with Serbia, saying it was “the right decision” despite condemnation from the European Union.

2012 – Syria’s most prominent defector, Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, offers himself up as a figure to unite the fractious opposition, saying he failed to persuade his former friend President Bashar Assad to end a bloody crackdown that has killed thousands of Syrians.

Today’s Birthdays:

George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer (1856-1950); Carl Jung, Swiss psychologist (1875-1961); Antonio Machado, Spanish writer (1875-1939); George Grosz, German painter (1893-1959); Aldous Huxley, British author (1894-1963); Blake Edwards, producer/director (1922–2010), Stanley Kubrick, U.S. film director (1928-1999); Mick Jagger, British pop singer (1943–); Kevin Spacey, U.S. actor (1959–); Sandra Bullock, U.S. actress (1964–); Kate Beckinsale, English actress (1973–).

Thought For Today:

Death is better, a milder fate than tyranny — Aeschylus, Greek playwright (525 BC – 456 BC).

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