Today in History, 7-08-14

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

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

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

In 1914, jazz singer and bandleader Billy Eckstine was born in Pittsburgh.

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 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 1989, Carlos Saul Menem was inaugurated as president of Argentina in the country's first transfer of power from one democratically elected civilian leader to another in six decades.

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

Ten years ago: Adelphia Communications Corp. founder John Rigas and his son Timothy were convicted in New York of looting the cable company and deceiving investors. (John Rigas was sentenced to 12 years in prison; Timothy Rigas, 17.) A Swedish appeals court threw out a life prison sentence for the convicted killer of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, ruling that Mijailo Mijailovic should receive treatment for his "significant psychiatric problems." (The Swedish Supreme Court later overturned the ruling and gave Mijailovic life in prison; in a 2011 newspaper interview, Mijailovic said he had faked mental illness during his trial in an attempt to get a less severe sentence.)

Five years ago: Group of Eight leaders, including President Barack Obama, pledged to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as they met in L'Aquila, Italy. South Korea blamed North Korea for cyberattacks targeting its websites as well as those in the U.S.

One year ago: Breaking their public silence, three women who'd been held captive in a Cleveland home for a decade issued a YouTube video; in it, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight thanked the public for the encouragement and financial support allowing them to restart their lives.

Thought for Today: "For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, poet and philosopher (1803-1882).

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