Today is Friday, July 18, the 200th day of 2008. There are 166 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On July 18, 1947, President Truman signed the Presidential Succession Act, which placed the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore next in the line of succession after the vice president.
On this date:
In A.D. 64, the Great Fire of Rome began.
In 1792, American naval hero John Paul Jones died in Paris at age 45.
In 1918, during World War I, American and French forces launched a counteroffensive against the Germans during the Second Battle of the Marne.
In 1932, the United States and Canada signed a treaty to develop the St. Lawrence Seaway.
In 1936, the Spanish Civil War began.
In 1940, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago nominated President Roosevelt for an unprecedented third term in office.
In 1969, a car driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha's Vineyard; passenger Mary Jo Kopechne died.
In 1984, a gunman opened fire at a McDonald's fast food restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif., killing 21 people before being shot dead by police.
In 1984, Walter F. Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination in San Francisco.
In 1988, Texas Treasurer Ann Richards delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, skewering presumed Republican nominee George H.W. Bush as having been "born with a silver foot in his mouth."
Ten years ago: South African President Nelson Mandela capped his 80th birthday by marrying Graca Machel, the widow of a Mozambican president and black liberation leader.
Five years ago: Basketball star Kobe Bryant was charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman at a Colorado spa; Bryant denied the charge, saying he was guilty only of adultery. (Prosecutors later dropped the case.) The body of British scientist David Kelly, a weapons expert at the center of a storm over British intelligence on Iraq, was found a day after he'd committed suicide.
One year ago: Senate Republicans torpedoed legislation to force the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq. An underground steam pipe exploded on a New York City street, swallowing a tow truck and claiming the life of a woman who suffered a heart attack. Armed men kidnapped two Germans and five Afghans working on a dam project in central Afghanistan. (One of the Germans, Ruediger Diedrich, was found shot dead three days later; the others were later released.) Opera tenor Jerry Hadley, 55, died at a hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a week after he'd shot himself with an air rifle.
Today's Birthdays: Former South African President Nelson Mandela is 90. Former Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, is 87. Skating champion and commentator Dick Button is 79. Movie director Paul Verhoeven is 70. Singer Brian Auger is 69. Singer Dion DiMucci is 69. Actor James Brolin is 68. Singer Martha Reeves is 67. Blues guitarist Lonnie Mack is 67. Pop-rock musician Wally Bryson (The Raspberries) is 59. Country-rock singer Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League) is 59. Actress Margo Martindale is 57. Singer Ricky Skaggs is 54. Rock musician Nigel Twist (The Alarm) is 50. Actress Anne-Marie Johnson is 48. Actress Elizabeth McGovern is 47. Rock musician John Hermann (Widespread Panic) is 46. Rock musician Jack Irons is 46. Actor Vin Diesel is 41. Rock musician Daron Malakian (System of a Down; Scars on Broadway) is 33. Rock musician Tony Fagenson (Eve 6) is 30. Movie director Jared Hess is 29. Actor Jason Weaver is 29. Actress Kristen Bell is 28. Rock singer Ryan Cabrera is 26. Actor Chace Crawford is 23.
Thought for Today: "While we read history we make history." -- George William Curtis, American author-editor (1824-1892).