Today is Thursday, July 17, the 199th day of 2008. There are 167 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800, a Paris-bound Boeing 747, exploded and crashed off Long Island, N.Y., shortly after leaving John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people aboard.
On this date:
In 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States.
In 1841, the British humor magazine Punch was first published.
In 1918, Russia's Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.
In 1938, aviator Douglas Corrigan took off from New York, saying he was headed for California; he ended up in Ireland, supposedly by accident, earning the nickname "Wrong Way Corrigan."
In 1944, 322 people were killed when a pair of ammunition ships exploded in Port Chicago, Calif.
In 1948, Southern Democrats opposed to the nomination of President Truman met in Birmingham, Ala., to endorse South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond.
In 1955, Disneyland opened to the public in Anaheim, Calif.
In 1968, a coup in Iraq returned the Baath Party to power, five years after it was ousted.
In 1975, an Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit in the first superpower linkup of its kind.
In 1981, 114 people were killed when a pair of walkways above the lobby of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel collapsed during a "tea dance."
Ten years ago: Prosecutors in the Monica Lewinsky case questioned President Clinton's Secret Service protectors before a grand jury. Nicholas II, last of the Romanov czars, was buried in Russia 80 years after he and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks. A 23-foot-high tsunami hit the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, killing more than 2,000 people. In Rome, delegates from more than 100 countries overwhelmingly approved a historic treaty creating the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal -- ignoring strenuous U.S. objections over certain provisions.
Five years ago: President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair forcefully defended their decision to topple Saddam Hussein during a joint White House news conference. In a speech to the U.S. Congress, Blair said even if they were proven wrong about Iraq's weapons capabilities, "We will have destroyed a threat that at its least is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering." Democrats Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt and Dennis Kucinich apologized to the NAACP for bypassing a presidential forum.
One year ago: Senate Democrats launched an all-night debate on the Iraq war. VA Secretary Jim Nicholson abruptly resigned in the wake of charges of shoddy health care for veterans injured in the Iraq war. A Brazilian passenger jet crashed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, killing all 187 people aboard and 12 on the ground. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was indicted by a federal grand jury in Richmond, Va., on charges related to competitive dogfighting. (Vick later admitted bankrolling the dogfighting operation and helping to kill six to eight dogs; he was sentenced to 23 months in prison.) The Dow Jones industrial average crossed 14,000 for the first time before ending the day at 13,918.22.
Today's Birthdays: TV personality Art Linkletter is 96. Comedian Phyllis Diller is 91. The former president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, is 88. Jazz singer Jimmy Scott is 83. Actor Donald Sutherland is 73. Actress-singer Diahann Carroll is 73. Rock musician Spencer Davis is 66. Rock musician Terry "Geezer" Butler (Black Sabbath) is 59. Actress Lucie Arnaz is 57. Actor David Hasselhoff is 56. Rock musician Fran Smith Jr. (The Hooters) is 56. Singer Phoebe Snow is 56. Television producer Mark Burnett ("Survivor," "The Apprentice") is 48. Actress Nancy Giles is 48. Singer Regina Belle is 45. Rock musician Lou Barlow is 42. Hip-hop singer Guru (Gang Starr) is 42. Contemporary Christian singer Susan Ashton is 41. Actor Andre Royo is 40. Actress Bitty Schram is 40. Actor Jason Clarke is 39. Singer JC (PM Dawn) is 37. Rapper Sole' is 35. Country singer Luke Bryan is 32. Actor Eric Winter is 32.
Thought for Today: "Life has taught me that it is not for our faults that we are disliked and even hated, but for our qualities." -- Bernard Berenson, Lithuanian-American art critic and author (1865-1959).