Today is Saturday, July 27, the 208th day of 2013. There are 157 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1563 – French army regains Le Havre, France, where English garrison is stricken with plague. Returning soldiers introduce the plague to England.
1655 – Great Elector of Brandenburg concludes defense treaty with Dutch. This sparks first Northern War when Sweden’s King Charles X invades Poland.
1710 – British forces score victory over Spanish at Alminara, Spain.
1784 – Courier De L’Amerique becomes the first French newspaper to be published in the United States.
1789 – U.S. Congress establishes the Department of Foreign Affairs, forerunner of the Department of State.
1794 – Revolutionary leader Maximilien de Robespierre is arrested by his opponents in Paris and tries to commit suicide, but fails.
1795 – Spain signs peace treaty with France, ceding its part of Santo Domingo.
1830 – July Revolution starts in Paris in reaction to restrictive policies of Charles X, who is forced from the throne after three days of fighting.
1839 – Opium War between China and Britain begins after Chinese authorities seize and burn British cargoes of opium.
1848 – Russians invade Danubian principalities at request of Turkey to put down revolts there.
1866 – The first successful trans-Atlantic telegraph cable between England and the United States is completed.
1909 – Orville Wright tests the U.S. Army’s first airplane for one hour, twelve minutes.
1940 – Billboard magazine begins publishing its best seller charts of albums and singles; Bugs Bunny makes his film debut in the United States in the Warner Brothers release called A Wild Hare.
1953 – An armistice is signed at Panmunjom, after three years of negotiations. This agreement, in practice, ends the Korean War.
1954 – Britain and Egypt agree on terms to end 72 years of British control of Suez Canal.
1965 – U.S. planes carry out first attacks against anti-aircraft missile sites in North Vietnam.
1974 – The House Judiciary Committee votes 27-11 to recommend U.S. President Richard Nixon’s impeachment on an obstruction of justice charge in the Watergate case.
1976 – Former Japanese prime minister Tanaka Kakuei is arrested and later convicted for accepting bribes from U.S. Lockheed Corporation.
1978 – U.N. Security Council endorses Western plan for ending guerrilla warfare in Southwest Africa and making it independent new state of Namibia.
1980 – The deposed Shah of Iran dies at a military hospital outside Cairo, Egypt, at age 60.
1987 – Riot police in Sri Lanka clash with majority Sinhalese, demonstrating against peace plan aimed at ending bloody rebellion by Tamil separatist rebels.
1991 – Albert Zafy, the top opposition leader in Madagascar, is arrested and thousands of his supporters protest in a central square.
1993 – The Bosnian factions meet in Geneva for their first direct talks on a Serbo-Croat plan for a confederation of three ethnic mini-states.
1996 – A pipe bomb explodes during Olympic Games in Atlanta, when the United States is hosting the games, killing one and injuring more than 100 people.
1998 – White House intern Monica Lewinsky ends six months of silence to talk with prosecutors investigating her relations with U.S. President Bill Clinton.
1999 – The United Nations and the Red Cross cancel aid flights into Afghanistan after rockets fired by a Taliban-opposed alliance hit the Kabul airport.
2000 – In Fiji a new cabinet is sworn in, with hopes of restoring calm to the island nation wracked by unrest from a May 19 coup.
2001 – Scientist Joseph Miller claims that data collected by NASA’s Viking landers 25 years ago on the surface of Mars show evidence of life; other scientists doubt his claim.
2002 – Iran’s Revolutionary Court, a conservative institution controlled by unelected clerics, disbands the Iran Freedom Party, a religious nationalist opposition party, and sentences 33 of its members to jail for “acting against national security.”
2003 – American cyclist Lance Armstrong wins the 100th Tour de France, the most prestigious race in cycling, for the fifth year in a row, tying him for the most consecutive wins.
2004 – Iran is once again building centrifuges that can be used to make nuclear weaponry, breaking the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency’s seals on the equipment in a show of defiance against international efforts to monitor its program, diplomats say.
2005 – India’s financial capital is shut down by the strongest rains ever recorded in Indian history, with the intense deluge — 37 inches (94 centimeters) in one day — marooning drivers, forcing students to sleep in their schools and snapping communication lines, at least 78 people have been killed in the Bombay region alone.
2006 – Former Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune is released from jail Thursday, more than two years after his arrest on charges of orchestrating the killing of political opponents at the start of a rebellion that engulfed the country.
2007 – Bhutan’s prime minister and six members of his Cabinet resign to pave the way for the first parliamentary elections in the Buddhist kingdom and its transition to democracy.
2008 – Iran hangs 29 people after they have been convicted of murder, drug trafficking and other crimes.
2009 – Israel hardens its insistence that it would do anything it felt necessary to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, just the ultimatum the United States hoped not to hear as it tries to nudge Iran to the bargaining table.
2010 – A U.S. audit has found that the Pentagon cannot account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraq reconstruction money, spotlighting Iraqi complaints that there is little to show for the massive funds pumped into their cash-strapped, war-ravaged nation.
2011 – Britain has officially recognized Libya’s main opposition group as the country’s legitimate government, the U.K. foreign secretary says, announcing the expulsion of all diplomats loyal to Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.
2012 – Britain opens its Olympics in a celebration of Old England and new, featuring a stunt double for Queen Elizabeth II parachuting with James Bond into Olympics Stadium.
Kukai, Japanese Buddhist saint (774-835); Ludovico Sforza, Italian Renaissance prince (1452-1508); Enrique Granados, Spanish composer (1867-1916); Ernst Dohnanyi, Hungarian composer (1877-1960); Geoffrey De Havilland, English aircraft designer (1882-1965); Leo Durocher, U.S. baseball manager (1906-1991); Norman Lear, U.S. TV producer (1922–); Jerry Van Dyke, U.S. actor (1931–); Bobbie Gentry, country singer (1944–); Pete Yorn, rock singer/songwriter (1974–); Jonathan Rhys Meyers, British actor (1977–).
Thought For Today: Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh — George Bernard Shaw, English playwright (1856 – 1950).